Acknowledging the enduring popularity of realism and yet mindful of the critical views of the genre, this essay looks to make a case for the innovative uses of realism on the twenty-first-century stage. A more particular concern with the critical potentialities and possibilities of realism in a climate of neoliberalism and post-feminism emerges through case studies of three women’s plays, all presented at the Royal Court Theatre: Fiona Evans’s Scarborough (2008), Lucy Kirkwood’s NSFW (2012) and Anupama Chandrasekhar’s Free Outgoing (2007). Adopting an approach in accord with Raymond Williams’s emphatic call for analysis rather than criticism, overall the essay exemplifies how realism mutates as established conventions are revisited and reworked, and ultimately speculates on a way of characterising this heterogeneity as ‘viral realism’.
KeywordsRealism Feminism Neoliberalism Postfeminism Raymond Williams Royal Court Theatre
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