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The Contemplation of Precarity in Caryl Churchill’s Here We Go and Escaped Alone

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2022, 35(1), pp.29-52
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Received : March 14, 2022
  • Accepted : April 11, 2022
  • Published : April 30, 2022

Hyunsun Woo 1

1경북대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the fluid social and political 21st century landscape, Churchill has continued to produce dialectical theatre, unique in its dramatic technique allowing space for critical engagement. In Here We Go, death is displaced from the ultimate tragic event by ageing. Irrespective of individual case, death is regarded as the common human condition determining human’s finitude and mortality. The ones participating in a funeral party as a grievable community make sense of their own death through the other’s. In the vein of Judith Butler’s precarity, the precarious body is grounded to establish the ethical relation and obligation toward the others. Moreover, ‘here’ and ‘there’ in the title indicate the proximity which alerts people to unawareness of bodily locatedness through media, focusing on the unequal distribution of precarity. Churchill’s anxiety of extinction is explicitly specified in Escaped Alone. The accounts of the apocalypse arouse a negative atmosphere by horror and threat. The negativity in this play corresponds to the nonidentical which is exclusive in achieving identity and unity in Theodor Adorno’s negative dialectics. Through the nonidentical, the contradiction working under the dominant system is revealed on the surface. In Escaped Alone, the pervasive horror leads to the critical thinking about the fundamental reasons of global disaster. The point of thinking in contradiction takes on concerns of the globalization of economy and neoliberalism. In the end, Churchill foregrounds precarity of social and political dimensions governing the earth community in these two plays, soliciting spectator’s critical perspective.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.