Advertisement

Beyond Belief: British Theatre and the ‘re-enchantment of the world’

  • Chris Megson
Chapter

Abstract

One of the notable features of twenty-first-century British drama is its preoccupation with the manifestations, existential implications and ethical possibilities of belief across varied religious and secular contexts. Drawing on the philosopher and sociologist Max Weber’s landmark lecture ‘Science as a Vocation’ (1918), which identifies ‘disenchantment’ as the presiding condition of modernity, and Simon During’s writings on ‘secular magic’, Megson shows how the encounter with belief in contemporary theatre raises vital questions about its capacity to enchant, delude or transform social reality at the present juncture. The chapter includes detailed analysis of Rob Drummond’s Bullet Catch (Arches, 2009), Lucy Prebble’s Enron (Royal Court, 2009) and Mike Bartlett’s 13 (National Theatre, 2011).

Keywords

Bartlett Belief Drummond Enchantment Illusion Magic Playwriting Prebble 

References

  1. Bartlett, Mike (2010) Earthquakes in London (London: Methuen Drama).Google Scholar
  2. Bartlett, Mike (2011) 13 (London: Methuen Drama).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benjamin, Walter (2005) ‘Fragment 74: Capitalism as Religion’, in Eduardo Mendieta (ed.) The Frankfurt School on Religion: Key Writings by the Major Thinkers, trans. Chad Kautzer (New York: Routledge), pp. 259–62.Google Scholar
  4. Bennett, Jane (2001) The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments, Crossings, and Ethics (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Billington, Michael (2009) ‘Enron’, Guardian, 23 September.Google Scholar
  6. Billington, Michael (2011) ‘13 – Review’, Guardian, 26 October.Google Scholar
  7. Brantley, Ben (2010) ‘Titans of Tangled Finances Kick Up Their Heels Again’, New York Times, 27 April.Google Scholar
  8. Drummond, Rob (2014) Bullet Catch, in Trish Reid (ed.) Contemporary Scottish Drama (London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama).Google Scholar
  9. During, Simon (2002) Modern Enchantments: The Cultural Power of Secular Magic (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press).Google Scholar
  10. Eagleton, Terry (2014) Culture and the Death of God (New Haven and London: Yale University Press).Google Scholar
  11. Eldridge, David (2005) ‘Massive Attack’, Guardian, 27 June.Google Scholar
  12. Landy, Joshua and Michael Saler (eds) (2009) The Re-Enchantment of the World: Secular Magic in a Rational Age (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press).Google Scholar
  13. Prebble, Lucy (2009) Enron (London: Methuen Drama).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Rebellato, Dan (2013) ‘Exit the Author’, in Vicky Angelaki (ed.) Contemporary British Theatre: Breaking New Ground (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 9–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Reid, Trish (ed.) (2014) Contemporary Scottish Drama (London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama).Google Scholar
  16. Soanes, Catherine and Angus Stevenson (eds) (2006) Oxford Dictionary of English, 2nd edn (revised) (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  17. Wallace, Clare (2014) ‘Playing with Proximity: Precarious Ethics on Stage in the New Millennium’, in Mireia Aragay and Enric Monforte (eds) Ethical Speculations in Contemporary British Theatre (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 117–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Weber, Max (2009) ‘Science as a Vocation’, in H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills (eds and trans) From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology (Abingdon and New York: Routledge), pp. 129–56.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Megson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Drama and TheatreRoyal Holloway University of LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations