The Argumentative Theatre of Joe Penhall


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About the Book

Of the many dynamic, young playwrights to be associated with the “In-Yer-Face” burst of creative talent on the British stage in the mid–1990s, Joe Penhall has challenged Britain’s status quo the most. Penhall believes his plays should constantly provoke and enrage not only the institutions he targets, but also his audience. This critical book discusses the argumentative nature of Penhall’s plays, while also placing them within the context of contemporary British society and the modern dramatic tradition. His eight plays are discussed in detail, and particular attention is paid to male identity, the nature of grief, the variety of females, domestic drama, and the role of autobiography in his work.

About the Author(s)

William C. Boles is a professor of English at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, where he teaches dramatic literature and film.

Bibliographic Details

William C. Boles
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 209
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-5949-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8551-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Introduction: From the Raves to the Stages of London      7

1. Wild Turkey and the New Man, the New Lad and the Penhall Male      25

2. Some Voices and the Failure of Care      40

3. Pale Horse and the Struggle to Mourn      59

4. Love and Understanding and the Demise of Relationships      77

5. The Bullet and the Stigma of Redundancy      98

6. Blue/Orange and Racism within the National Health Service      114

7. Dumb Show and Penhall’s Women      135

8. Landscape with Weapon and Post–September 11 Drama      155

Afterword      179

Chapter Notes      183

Bibliography      189

Index      199