Forms of Dissent in Contemporary Drama and Contemporary Theory

  • Rick Rylance
Part of the Insights book series (ISI)


This chapter will examine some features of contemporary dramatic practice in the light of developments in contemporary literary theory. I do not, however, intend to examine the former from the standpoint of the interpretative practices of the. latter. I am, instead, interested in the two as related phenomena. My particular field of interest is dissent, and specifically the question of how dissident theorists and dramatists conceive of the relationship between text and audience. I wish to develop this in relation to, on the one hand, radical post-structuralist theory (which I take to be the major expression of recent critical dissent), and, on the other, work by three socialist dramatists Howard Barker, Howard Brenton and John McGrath. But I will begin by setting out my sense of the dominant direction of relevant theoretical arguments on the problem of how readers make meanings. I will then look at the dramatic practice of Barker and Brenton before, in the third section, turning to that of John McGrath.


Literary Theory Sacred Grove Popular Theatre Interpretive Community Theatrical Metaphor 
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Copyright information

© The Editorial Board, Lumìere Cooperative Press Ltd 1992

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  • Rick Rylance

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