Friday, January 24, 2020
State of Play by David Edgar Essay -- masculinity, power, gay men
David Edgar, in his book State of Play: Playwrights on Playwriting (1999) highlights the fact that in the mid 90Ã¢â¬â¢s there seemed to be an Ã¢â¬Å"over-arching themeÃ¢â¬ (edgar, 1999, p27) in contemporary British play that looked at ideas of masculinity. Ã¢â¬Å"Gay plays like Jonathan HarveyÃ¢â¬â¢s Beautiful ThingÃ¢â¬ ¦ ladÃ¢â¬â¢s plays like Jez Butterworths MojoÃ¢â¬ ¦ [and] girls-in-a-boysÃ¢â¬â¢ gang plays like Irving WelshÃ¢â¬â¢s TrainspottingÃ¢â¬ ¦ address masculinity and its discontentsÃ¢â¬â¢ (ibid, p.27). In this essay I will look at what ideas of masculinity are, and how these discontents have been addressed in contemporary theatre (and the idea of the Ã¢â¬Å"decline of the dominant role of menÃ¢â¬ (edgar, 1999, p.28)) and how the crisis of masculinity(ref) has been staged. I will do this by looking at performances from Ron Athey, Franko B, and Gregory BurkesÃ¢â¬â¢ Black Watch. Firstly however, I will look at a definition of what masculinity is, in order to discuss what representations of this idea are being performed in the selected pieces of work. Perhaps one of the main reasons as to why there is thought to be a Ã¢â¬ËcrisisÃ¢â¬â¢ of masculinity, is because the term itself is so hard to define, in a sociological sense. Jack Kahn in his book Ã¢â¬ËAn Introduction to MasculinitiesÃ¢â¬â¢ states that Ã¢â¬Å"masculinity is a hypothetical construct because, in and of itself, it cannot be directly observed and measuredÃ¢â¬ (2009, p.3). This is because Ã¢â¬Å"masculinities and male behavious are not the simple product of genetic codings or biological predispositionsÃ¢â¬ (Whitehead and Barrett, 2001, p.16), it is instead a conceptual idea that is used to explain a collection of behaviors, attitudes, thoughts and emotions that make up a specific identity. masculinity is not just one idea, nor is it specifically a male thing, it is an inte... ...h it had some recognisable substantive basisÃ¢â¬ (Whitehead and Barrett, 2001, p.53) Works Cited Brittan, A. 1989. Masculinity and power. Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell. Burke, G. 2007. Black Watch. London: Faber and Faber. Edgar, D. 1999. State of play. London: Faber and Faber. Kahn, J. S. 2009. An introduction to masculinities. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell. Petersen, A. R. 1998. Unmasking the masculine. London: Sage Publications. Phelan, P. 1993. Unmarked. London: Routledge. Reeser, T. W. 2010. Masculinities in theory. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. Richards, M. 2003. Ron Athey, AIDS and the politics of pain. Body, Space and Technology, 3 (2). Sierz, A. 2011. Rewriting the nation. London: Methuen Drama. Walsh, F. 2010. Male trouble. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Whitehead, S. and Barrett, F. J. 2001. The masculinities reader. Cambridge, UK: Polity.