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Transplant and Translation: Tim Crouch's ENGLAND

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2013, 26(1), pp.5-28
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Ilhyung Park 1

1홍익대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Tim Crouch’s ENGLAND premiered in 2007 reveals in detail the ethics of his theatre. Not only does ENGLAND specify the fundamental ethical question posed by his critical perspective, it also exemplifies it in a dramatic form that is unique to Crouch. The purpose of the thesis is to analyse ENGLAND in order to understand the essence of the formal experimentation and political issues it raises. With particular reference to the socio-economic paradox posed by the issue of organ donation and purchase, the thesis intends to concentrate on the aporia surrounding the concept of ‘gift’. In the two-act play, ENGLAND, the second act specifically poses the ethical question suggested in the lines that repeatedly appear in the play: “If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here.” As a play cannot exist without the presence of the audience, English’s life is totally dependent on the organ donor. In order to repay this gist of ‘donation’, he has brought a ‘gift’ to the wife of the organ donor. The situation raises a series of questions that defy answering. In the first place, can one really repay the gift of a heart? If English was sincere in paying for the heart, why didn’t he describe what he had brought as payment but a ‘gift’? Can one repay the life of another individual? Can a work of art be a counter-gift to the gift of life?Crouch draws upon the cruel reality of organ trafficking within the controlled space of the art gallery totally cut-off from the outside world. What he deploys in doing so is not representation in the ordinary sense of the word which aims at imparting knowledge or providing clarity. The action taking place in Crouch’s play is not separated from the act of seeing the action itself. Art is a medium of representation of reality, but at the same time, it offers a perspective to gain an insight into art itself. In other words, the issue of organ transplant acts as a metaphor of the variety of issues related to exchanges within drama. What is hinted at through the protagonist may be the fact that the playwright is never free from his dominant role as a playwright, but the play itself can be read as an attempt to get ever closer to the reciprocity between art and the public, the playwright and the audience, the sender and receiver of signs with vigor. By allowing the audience to investigate critically the system of representation itself on the part of the audience themselves, Crouch wishes to transform the issue of dramatic representation into that of cultural and social exchange.

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