Drama on Drama pp 121-135 | Cite as

‘The Play’s the Thing’: The Metatheatre of Timberlake Wertenbaker

  • Christine Dymkowski


Timberlake Wertenbaker is one of the most exciting playwrights to have emerged in Britain in the past decade. Her most notable work is self-reflexive, interrogating the nature and function of theatre in individual and communal life; through devices such as doubling and mirroring, her plays engage in a dialectical relationship with their audiences about the experiences they are undergoing as they watch. This essay will explore the myriad ways in which Wertenbaker initiates and sustains this relationship in two of her plays, Our Country’s Good and The Love of the Nightingale, both first staged in 1988.


Dialectical Relationship Social Virtue Realistic Convention Final Scene Obverse Side 
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  1. Dymkowski, Christine, ‘Questioning Comedy in Daniels, Wertenbaker, and Churchill’, in: Contemporary Drama in English: New Forms of Comedy, ed. Bernhard Reitz (Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 1994). pp. 33–44Google Scholar
  2. Keneally, Thomas, The Playmaker (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1987).Google Scholar
  3. Wertenbaker, Timberlake, Our Country’s Good (London: Methuen, 1991)Google Scholar
  4. Wertenbaker, Timberlake, The Break of Day (London: Faber & Faber, 1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Wertenbaker, Timberlake, The Love of the Nightingale and The Grace of Mary Traverse (London: Faber & Faber, 1989).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine Dymkowski

There are no affiliations available

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