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The Politics of Discordant Ecology: Caryl Churchill’s Far Away

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2021, 34(2), pp.95-122
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Received : July 15, 2021
  • Accepted : August 9, 2021
  • Published : August 31, 2021

Kyung Cho 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is to refute two misunderstandings of the British playwright Caryl Churchill’s Far Away (2000). 1) The work does not comment directly about the social events in reality; therefore, it is not political enough. 2) The playwright presents the catastrophic picture of the world in Act 3 as the impending apocalypse. Indeed, Far Away seems to acknowledge that criticism with elliptical lines of characters, abrupt transitions from farmhouse to cosmic war, and the lack of causality in the plot. On the contrary, I’d like to argue that those elements precisely constitute the Churchillian ‘political play.’ Applying Jacques Rancière’s idea of the sensible, which does not separate politics from aesthetics, this thesis aims to explore how a young girl, Joan, loses her ‘senses,’ internalizing the logic of police in everyday life. The consequence of this retribution of the sensible is the world without politics, where what Hanna Arendt defines ‘vita activa’ are merged into capitalism, and causes ‘a Hobbesian war of all against all’ in the end. However, Churchill goes further from the mere calamity and sees the new possibility that all non-human beings are released from the human concept of nature, which is the basic concept of Timothy Morton’s ‘Dark ecology.’ While all beings and even non-beings are involved in the destructive war, the final act overflows with the vitality of becoming-animals that can ally with, discord, and affect each other. In conclusion, this paper argues that Churchill invites the reader and audience to participate in this war, thereby being disturbed with anthropocentrism, creating a new sense of ecological thought.

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