Thursday, 31 March 2016

Unvisible

I said that I would not cut and paste anymore. This release is an exception... so excited...


New production company announce ground-breaking project that will change theatre, and comic books, forever.

Saturnalia Productions are delighted to announce a new theatrical production, Unvisible, which brings together some of Scotland’s most critical lauded and famous artists. With a script by Grant Morrison, based on his awarding winning series The Invisibles, and legendary actor Tam Dean Burn in the central role of King Mob, Unvisible will continue the adventures of his creator-owned characters from his best-selling Vertigo graphic novels. Directed by a fantastic collective of internationally renowned stars, including Stewart Laing, Katie Mitchell and Dominic Hill, Unvisible is a cross-platform, multi-media, site-specific spectacle that promises to challenge the audience’s perception of reality. It will feature design from some of Scotland’s finest visual artists, including Frank Quitely (New X-Men) and Sha Nazir (Laptop Guy).

‘Since The Invisibles ended in 2013, Unvisible picks up the story in modern times. King Mob, the revolutionary hero of Counting to None, finds himself isolated after his victory at Westminster Abbey, wondering what happened to the glorious future that the arrival of Barbelith was supposed to bring.’

‘There was only one choice for the role of King Mob,’ explains designer Sha Nazir. ‘Tam Dean Burn is a Glaswegian icon, associated with the exciting theatre of the 1990s – he starred in the original stage production of Trainspotting – and he happens to look exactly like Morrison’s hero!’

Following the format of the graphic novel series, and in the style of director Stewart Laing
ground-breaking Paul Bright, will be performed in five episodes in various locations across the central belt of Scotland. Although they combine towards the grand finale on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, each episode will be a stand-alone event.

The Invisibles was a revolutionary moment in comics,’ says producer Kirk King. ‘It challenged the form, bringing in ideas from queer theory, post-modernism and conspiracy culture, to shake up the reader’s very sense of what is real. Unvisible returns to these themes, but now it is time for the theatre audience to receive a dose of Morrison’s mind-bending intellect.’

Each episode will happen in a specially selected venue, beginning in Edinburgh’s notorious ‘pubic triangle’. Each episode will also happen in real time, since Morrison and co-writer Jack Lothian have followed the theories of Aristotle.

‘It might look like an archaic thing, the theories of unity,’ says Lothian. ‘But adopting it is an important part of Morrison’s intention! Like much of his work, there is a clever mix of art and philosophy, and audiences should not expect a classical tragedy… at least not immediately’

NOTES TO EDITORS
LISTINGS
UNVISIBLE: The metaphysical striptease
Venue: The Western Bar, Edinburgh
Dates: 21-30 September 2016, 12pm – 1am (every twenty minutes)
Prices: £4 entrance
In this immersive introduction, audiences are invited to join a down at heel King Mob as he drowns his sorrows in wine and women. When he recognises one of the dancers as his former lover Ragged Robin, however, he begins to remember his destiny.

UNVISIBLE: The Edith Manning Experience
Venue: Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
Dates: 1 - 10 October 2016, 7.30pm
Prices: tbc
Venue: Bloc, Glasgow
Dates: 10 - 28 October 2016, 7.30pm
Prices: tbc
Featuring a band made up of members of Arab Strab, Mogwai and Holy Mountain (Chemical Underground), this punk ceilidh play follows King Mob’s attempt to bring back his old revolutionary comrades. ‘Think of it as The Blues Brothers meets Fellini,’ says Morrison.

UNVISIBLE: Bollywood Babylon
Venue: The Glue Factory, Glasgow
Dates: 1 - 10 December 2016, 11pm
Prices: tbc
Venue: The Voodoo Room, Edinburgh
Dates: 12 – 23 December 2016, 11pm
Prices: tbc
In the middle of a live DJ set by Glasgow’s Hush and dubstep legend Kode-9, King Mob and his cell prepare a new weapon for battle: sound generated by the appropriation of Bollywood and subliminal bass.

UNVISIBLE: Flexin’Mentallo
Venue: University of Glasgow
Dates: 10 January 2017, all day
Prices: Free
Part conference, part performance, this day is both the fourth part of Unvisible and a critical discussion of the series. Lecturers invited so far include Dr Carl Lavery (Absurdism and the Apocalypse, Morrison and Ionesco), Steven Greer and Dee Heedon (Autobiography when there is no self).

UNVISIBLE: Apocalypstick Now
Venue: Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
Dates: 23 June 2017, 7.30pm
Prices: tbc
Details to be released nearer the date.

Please contact Kirk King unvisibles23@gmail.com for further details. Interviews are available. Further collaborators will be announced in the forthcoming months.

Biographies
Tam Dean Burn  was born in Leith and grew up in Clermiston.

Previous stage adaptations include: Disco Biscuits (Arthrob); The Cutting Room (Citizens' Theatre).

Acting work includes: Tutti Frutti, Home Edinburgh (National Theatre of Scotland); Mary Stuart (Donmar Warehouse and Apollo West End); The Cutting Room, Venice Preserved, The Cherry Orchard, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, Scrooge, Peer Gynt, The Pleasure Man (Glasgow Citizens); Filth (Citizens, National Tour and Calgary, Canada); Platonov (Almeida); Berkoff’s Messiah (Edinburgh Assembly); Headstate (Lemon Tree and tour).

Television work includes: Wedding Belles, Longford (Channel 4); River City (BBC); Taggart (STV); Helen West (ITV).

Radio work includes: Velvet Love (Radio 4); ongoing solo show on resonancefm.com including The Complete Poems of William Blake. Tam has also directed and performed in many live radio plays for resonancefm.com.

Directing credits include: William Burrough’s Caught in Possession of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Citizens Theatre); Sniperculture (Traverse); Cruel Brittania (London Scala) all written by Johnny Brown for Underground Utopia.

Audiobook work includes: Trainspottng, Filth, Glue, Porno (Irvine Welsh), The Cutting Room (Louise Welsh, RNIB).

Grant Morrison is highly regarded as one of the most original and inventive writers to work in the comic book industry. He is recognised as being one of the best-selling writers in the medium in the last 20 years.
His revisionist Batman book ARKHAM ASYLUM (with artist Dave McKean) has sold over 600,000 copies worldwide and won numerous awards, making it the most successful original graphic novel to be published in America. In 2009, Eidos released the best-selling video game BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM inspired by the book.
Morrison is renowned for his ability to revive and re-imagine established characters, and has been orchestral behind runs of popular stories for the major companies including DC Comics characters; BATMAN, SUPERMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, DOOM PATROL, ANIMAL MAN and for Marvel Comics the best-selling monthly, NEW X-MEN, MARVEL BOY and FANTASTIC FOUR.
His Graphic Novels and Comic Book collections have been translated into twenty languages and are sold worldwide to international acclaim.
In September 2011 as part of the new 52 re-launch at DC Comics, Grant began writing Superman again in the best-selling ACTION COMICS franchise, as the cornerstone book of the line.
In 2014, work at DC Comics includes a revisionist take on Wonder Woman for the Earth One Graphic Novel, WONDER WOMAN: THE TRIAL OF DIANA PRINCE. The epic, long-awaited maxi series, MULTIVERSITY, is due for release in June 2014.  
As part of his remit at DC Comics, Morrison has also acted as a Consultant, developing updated approaches on minor characters and recreating them as springboards for other writers. He has also had award winning and critical success using this revival method for his own maxi-series, SEVEN SOLDIERS in 2006. His take on Superman for ALL-STAR SUPERMAN cements his ability to breathe life into old franchises and his four year story run on Batman has woven a complex and intriguing best-selling tale the likes of which has not been seen in decades.
In 1997, Grant was the first comic book writer to be included as one of Entertainment Weekly's top 100 creative people in America.











Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Nude Woman Question

The title is stolen from an 1870 article by Olive Logan. Less than a decade after what Wolf Mankowitz called 'the first public striptease ever witnessed in a theatre' (cited in Foley, 2005), the trend for nudity on stage had led to an energetic discussion of what could, appropriately, be shown and for how long. 

Mankowitz, writing about the play Mazeppa, describes the first theatrical striptease in a play which, according to Rachel Shetir was a hack job that needed something spectacular to distract from a trite script. Usually, it involved getting a horse to descend from the stage: Adah Issacs Menken, who was already notorious for hanging out with Walt Whitman and generally not caring about conservative social values, gave it an added edge. 

Predictably, this first theatrical striptease led to the first moral panic. Shetir quotes one reviewer's remark: 'parts of the body of this actress were exposed that God never intended to be seen by any eye other than her mother's'.

The naked body - male or female - is usually a good sales pitch for theatre. A British ballet company were once sued by audience members on the grounds that their advert promised nude dancers (and the choreography did not fulfil). Audiences raced to see a revival of Equus hoping to see Daniel Radcliffe go full-frontal.

Fortunately, this usually stimulates energetic social discussion: in 1980, Brenton's Romans in Britain  led to a change in the law, after Mary Whitehouse brought a private prosecution against the production on the grounds that it was likely to 'deprave or corrupt'. 

If contemporary culture appears more relaxed about nudity - Shetir's critic's comments are amusingly old-fashioned - the representation of bodies in theatre can expose hypocrisy and double standards. Brenda Foley's Undressed for Success looks at the laws and discussions about striptease in the last century or so - comparing it with beauty contests - and unearths how striptease provokes condemnation, and control, of the female body. 

In recent years, there has been a rash of theatre shows that use the strip-club, or strippers, as a locus for drama. While many have come from the personal experience of the writers and performers, they all trade on the illicit thrill of the exposed body, plugging into the anxieties expressed throughout Foley's study. 


The relentless need to define is more common in artists than I previously acknowledged. Searching for definitions of "visual theatre," I discovered a wide variety of companies who are more than willing to give an outline of the genre
http://visualtheater.co.il/pages/en/what_en.php



Visual theater is one of the terms in which a creative act - performed for an audience or with its participation - may be described as an act the language of which is first and foremost that of visual images. This language is not limited to the creation of a visual image. 

In its wider sense, it is a material, physical language that addresses all the senses and evokes mental images, a language in which every component - space, object, movement, voice or sound - may be equivalent to the actor and the human character. In contrast one may regard traditional theater based on the written drama, that is indeed presented visually but centralizes verbal discourse and its meanings.

In this wide space of action, visual theater defines itself as a form of expression that inherently rejects definitions, an area that subverts the delineating of areas. 


Perhaps this is why it is associated with such numerous definitions and modes of performance: 
performance art, installation, multimedia, puppetry, theater of objects, dance theater, theater of images, total theater, experimental theater and alternative theater. 


Visual theater sheds medium definitions or distinct genre headings in favor of interdiscipline, the combining and fusion of arts, skills and materials. Therefore a framework of studies geared to facilitate this must offer such a wide range of subjects: space design, sculpture, drawing and painting, directing, acting, puppet design and animation, street theater, bouffons, movement, dance and release techniques, music, voice training and singing,dramatic writing, lighting and video. At the same time, students touch directly upon interdisciplinary performance art, from focused etudes to the finalized work presented to the audience. In addition, this framework offers workshops facilitated by artists, active and known both in Israel and abroad. Experiential work is matched by theoreticalstudies linked to the practical aims of visual theater. Issues of performance art, the history and theory of stage design, art history, philosophy, film history etc.

In these and other dynamic and varied means visual theater defines itself as a goal to be pursued. 
Personal or collective exploration is to be aspired, seeking new and effective ways of expression and communication, and their spatial, physical, material, formal, musical, verbal or technological realization.
Visual theater is the goal to be pursued, and to no lesser extent, the actual daring to explore.







Defining the moment when visual theatre fully articulated itself as a genre is difficult: beyond Western theatre, Indian Kathakali or Japanese Noh are traditional forms that don’t fall easily into simple divisions of dance or drama, emphasising costume and gesture above the word, and mime, most famously codified into an easily recognisable costume by Marcel Marceau, became popular in the early nineteenth century. 

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

For the Younglings: Method in my madness

[Skit: Method Man and Raekwon]

[Meth] Yeahhh, torture Aristotle what? [Torture Plato what?] What?

I'll fuckin - I'll fuckin tie The Poetics to a fuckin bedpost with a Greek Lexicon's ass cheeks spread out and shit, right, put a deconstruction on a fuckin stove and let that shit sit there for like a half hour, take it off and stick it in your Unities slow like *Tssssssss*

[Rae] Yeah, I'll fuckin - yeah I'll fuckin lay your description of the parts of tragedy on a fuckin dresser, just your six categories layin on a fuckin dresser, and bang them shits with a spiked fuckin epistemology.

[Ooooohhhh] Whassup? BLAOWWW!!

[Meth] I'll fuckin - I'll fuckin pull your fuckin assumptions out your fuckin Politics and stab the shit with a rusty ontology, BLAOWW!!

[Raek] I'll fuckin - I'll fuckin - I'll fuckin hang you by your fuckin hirarchies of citizens off a fuckin twelve sto-story building out this motherfucker

[Meth] I'll fuckin - I'll fuckin sew your context closed, and keep feedin you and feedin you, and feedin you, and feedin you

Yo, roll the dice, yo roll the dice

Yo, so it's going down like that, huh? Yeah?
Niggas is whylin, check it out kid

[Intro: GZA]
From the slums of Athens, Plato's Academy strikes again
The Rosseau, the GKV, Ol' Dirty Nietsche, Inspectah Derrida
Foucault the Chef, Augustine, Ghostface Killah and the Method Man

[Hook: Method Man]
M-E-T, H-O-D, Man
M-E-T, H-O-D, Man
M-E-T, H-O-D, Man
M-E-T, H-O-D, Man

[Verse 1: Method Man]
Hey, you, get off my cloud
You don't know me and you don't know my style
Who be getting flam when they come to a jam?
Here I am, here I am, the Method Man
Patty cake patty cake hey the Method Man
Don't rate Stoics, Sargon or Sarkeesian
Theories of thinking cause I'm not common
In fact I snap back like a rubber band
I be aesthetician, Critic-I-Am and I don't respect YouTube, ma'am.
Style will hit ya, wham!, then goddamn
You be like oh shit that's the jam
Turn it up now hear me get buckw-w-wild
I'm about to blow light me up
Upside, downside, inside and outside
Hittin you from every angle there's no doubt I
Am the one and only Method Man
The master of the plan, wrappin shit like Saran
Wrap, with some ontology and some semiotics
Hold up (what?) I tawt I tat I putty tat
Over there, but I think he best to beware
Of the diggy dog shit right here
Yippy yippy yay yippy yah yippy yo
Like Derrida said this ain't your average flow
Comin like rah ooh ah achie kah
Tell me how ya like it so far baby paw
The poetry's in motion coast to coast and
Rub my phenomenology on your skin like lotion
What's the commotion, oh my lord
Another corn chopped by the Occam sword
Hey hey hey like Fat Albert
It's the Method Man ain't no if ands about it
It's the Method

[Break: Method Man]
All right, y'all get ya Young Critics, get ya context, get ya voice
Don't forget your Theory
And we gonna do it like this

[Bridge: Method Man]
I got, fat bags of Diderot
I got, Post-Modernism blows
And I'm about to go get lifted
Yes I'm about to go get lifted
I got myself a Theory
I got myself a Grant
And I'm about to go and stick it
Yes I'm about to go and stick it uhh

[Verse 2: Method Man]
H-U-F-F huff and I puff
Blow like snow when the cold wind's blowin
Zoom, I hit the hegemony like boom
Wrote a post about it like to hear it here it goes
Question, what exactly is epistemology?
Ill behaviour savior or major flavor
All of the above oh yeah plus seducer
Also flam I'm the man call me super
Not an average Joe with an average flow
Doing average things with what average knows
Yo I'm super I'll make Rosseau squirm
For my Super Analysis (check it)
Check it I give it to ya raw butt naked
I smell modernism, pass the method
Let's get lifted as I kick ballistics
Missiles and shoot game like a pistol
Clip is loaded when I click bang dang
Deconstructed slug hits your brain
J-U-M-P jump and I thump
Make playwrights' rumps like pump and Humpty Hump
Wow, the Foucault style is all in me
Child, the whole damn isle is callin me
CRITICULOUS mad raw I don't cry
Meaning no one can burn or toss and turn me
Ooh I be the super critic
Chim chimmeny chim chim cherie
Freak a flow and flow fancy free
Now how many essays does it take
For me to hit the Tootsie Roll center of a break
Peep and don't sleep the crews mad deep Semiotics
Fadin The Ancients like bleach
So to each and every crew
You're clear like glass I can see right through
You're whole damn posse be catchin em all cause you vic'd
And ya didn't have friends to begin with, I'm

[Hook: Method Man]
The M-E-T, H-O-D, Man
M-E-T, H-O-D, Man
M-E-T, H-O-D, Man
Here I am, here I am, the Method Man

[Outro: RZA (Ghostface Killah) {​​Method Man}​​]
Straight from the slums of Watford
Vile Arts Killa Beez on a swarm
Ya's all have just been taken through the 36 Chambers of death, kid
{​​Word to mother, Method Man signing off, peace}​​

Dramaturgy gets Out: Rachael Young @ Buzzcut

Can you tell me a little bit about the work that you are bringing to Buzzcut?

OUT’ is collaboration between theatre maker and writer; Rachael Young and choreographer and dance artist; Dwayne Antony.  We are two artists of colour from Jamaican heritage.  We decided to collaborate to create a space to recall and examine our own experiences of the stigmas associated to queerness and gender conformity within the black community.

“Males and females are put into boxes of expectation when we are born. As we grow we start to realize the damages that those expectations cause to our spiritual and emotional understanding of ourselves and life”.
[Willow Smith]

The piece examines and challenges ideas that we have been indoctrinated with throughout our Caribbean upbringings, exploring the sense of shame that has felt ever present.  It comments on the tightrope we have to tread and unpacks the multitude of  pressures and repressions surrounding the experience of upholding a family’s social standing.


How 'typical' is this work compared to other pieces that you have made? Did the process follow a familiar or new pattern?

OUT’ is the first time that Dwayne and myself have worked together. It has provided a real opportunity for us to share our practices with each other, whilst creating a new piece which feels like it comes from both of us.  The process has followed a different pattern for me, in that much of the work I’ve been making recently has been text driven and in this piece I don’t speak at all, so the process has been a much more about developing a physical and visual dramaturgy.





It is vital to us both as makers to be constantly conscious of the authenticity of what it is we were striving to say.

Buzzcut is concerned with the idea of 'community'. Does community have a special meaning for you, and what relationship do you feel your work has within wider communities?

The idea community is a double edged sword, it can feel like an affectionate hug and a mighty bitch slap, often at the same time; loving and understanding with a huge sense of camaraderie and kinship. However in order to have that everlasting feeling one must, toe the line, act right and remember not to bring shame to the family door.

Whilst making the piece we discussed a topic very similar, we called it the “Black Mantra”. A mantra of long-lasting words and phrases we both recall hearing growing up. I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is, how much of the black mantra was/is good for shaping us into good well-mannered people? And how that mantra we grew up hearing so much, stopped us feeling free enough to know truly who we are and most importantly become the versions of ourselves that we feel most connected to.


What are you hoping that the audience will experience?

I hope the audience come with an open heart and mind and experience the notion of questioning and recalling, which we bring to the space. You will see two stories running simultaneously in the space that exploring how we reappropriate our own culture so that its fits who we are.

Rachael Young is a writer, theatre maker, artist and performer. Her practice includes solo contemporary theatre, interactive installations and socially engaged participatory projects. Her work is playful, experimental and often autobiographical. It seeks to represent voices that are often unheard in the arts and engage with audiences to explore new collective voices and participatory forms of expression. Concerned with the way we navigate the world as women and specifically black women, her work subtly questions societal norms, aiming to empower audiences to embrace and celebrate who they are.


In 2013 Rachael became a ‘Breakthrough Artist’ at Curve, Leicester and then in 2014 she received an annual BBC Performing Arts Fellowship, hosted by mac birmingham. These opportunities, coupled with support from Arts Council England and Ovalhouse have enabled Rachael to create I, Myself & Me.

Dwayne-Antony Simms is a dance artist and
choreographer. His artistic development has taken him through Europe to the United States and Middle East. In 2013 Dwayne travelled to Israel to attend an experimental dance residency to develop a new project called 'Roll on the L.LAW'



Monday, 28 March 2016

A poem that is supposed to be research.

Oh sing, goddess, sing, and please tell me how
Aristotle and Plato had such a terrible row
About the status of drama and tragedy's role,
And the relation of acting to the political whole.

I'll send you, oh Vile to the library's nook
And seek out the magic of Wiles' short book.
He discussed Theatre and Citizenship
His chapter on Athens will reward a trip.

I think that I've found it, on page one and forty.
Plato explains that theatre's well naughty. 
Tragedy's blasphemy, Plato's contending
It upsets the order he spent ages inventing.

On page forty two, Wiles gets down to brass tacks.
Read the quotation, which Vile unpacks...

Plato defines tragedy as essentially the representation of a fine and virtuous life, and pictures himself as a dramaturg who will realise in the political constitution which he has devised a more authentic mimesis of the good life than any itinerant poet could provide.

So, tragedy shows the best way to live
But why go to theatre when Plato will give
A much better pattern in the state he's invented
A poet's poetics are a version demented.

When Plato talks tragedy, he's talking of the song
Certain types of music are morally wrong
Tooting on the aulos is banned in The Republic
Because it offers ecstasy to the general public.

But he has a problem with the stories that they tell
(the gods having a time of it, giving people hell).
If poets want to stay in Plato's ideal city
They need to stop showing good men being shitty.

Wiles isn't always clear on page number forty three
Suggesting Plato did not like cult of celebrity.
It's not so much he did not like the old dramatic art
But worried that the crowd were swayed by an actor's slightest fart.

But what if we ignore Plato?
He doesn't like democracy, he doesn't like the vote.
That's because Athens made Socrates scape-goat
For the chaos of the period after Sparta kicked their ass. 

The basis of his objections are the kind of thing they cause
In democracy and tyranny, alike, theatre breaks the laws
Actors can be paid for, and thus the rich can use
The magic of the drama to put across their views.




Sunday, 27 March 2016

Don't Vote. It only encourages them.

I think I had better swear off politics right now, or I am going to be spending the next few months explaining why, despite my belief in the necessity of environmentally conscious policies, Patrick Harvey's egotism puts me right off The Green Party (short version, he can't keep his coupon off any literature). So here are my resolutions for the upcoming elections.

I accept that all politicians are idiots and liars. 
And I do mean all of them. I can't prove it, but it is, as Dr Fox said, they have got more DNA in common with crabs than humans. Voting for any of them is the lesser of multiple evils - remember Nick Clegg and his support for students? I refuse to be seduced by old men with beards, or clean shaven thrusting leaders, or humble yet thoughtful women. I have been doing criticism long enough to know its another act.

Tommy Sheridan - where do I begin?
Frankly, voting for Tommy is to ignore his misogyny. No, wait: stop your internal debate. He abused women in court just because they slept with him. However, Tommy made this video: it is the funniest thing I have seen this week. The way he talks to the prospective voter reveals that he knows what I know: only a fucking idiot would vote for him.




In his latest short video, Tommy talks about how the Regional Votes are counted in the Scottish Parliament elections, and how you can make your vote count by giving your 2nd vote to Solidarity on 5th 

 I am not playing favourites, though.
I don't like any of the politicians. I can't talk about their policies because they are irrelevant: they won't remember what they promised within ten minutes of seeing their first pay cheque. 

Patrick Harvey probably represents the party that I have most sympathy with, but the day he turned up at a Women For Independence Party made me realise that he is more interested in himself than, like, developing a communitarian approach to campaigning (hands up who knows the name of his co-convenor).

Nicola Sturgeon has conducted herself with dignity and intelligence, but her party has not delivered on its pledge to create fairer taxes. 

I have no idea who is leading the Tories or Labour in Scotland, so I can't pick out their weaknesses. And I do not care enough to go to a search engine.

I like these people, though
Although I do reserve the right to change my mind if they ever go Wings Over Scotland on me. 

I await the comments on how immoral I am
Please... tell me how wars were fought for my right to vote (not my right not to vote), or how I am letting the Tories win... 

Hmm -Art? A good thing? You are kidding, right?

Thanks to some half-baked reading about Diderot and the Quarrel Between the Ancient and the Moderns, I have become suspicious of Art. To continue the ridiculous simile introduced by King Tynan of BDSM, if theatre is my lover, it's like finding out that she has a job in marketing for UKIP.

The QBtAatA revolved around methods to assess art - whether, following Aristotle's guidelines, it was better to imitate classical sources (The Ancients), or strive after contemporary styling. Diderot, editor of the Encyclopedia was a Modern. He won, in the end. His influence on Saint Lessing, who coined the word dramaturgy, and Comrade Brecht, makes Diderot the Man. All that relevant theatre - that's his fault.

However, what the Ancients and Moderns shared was a conviction that theatre had a cultural importance, that the kind of plays that are produced reflect and support the values of society. This ought to be a straight 101 course in the Sociology of Theatre - Marx, for example, identifies the economic base (the political system, more or less) as defining the superstructure (culture and that).



The Ancients did far more than claim Greek Tragedy as the Best Tragedy. They recognised that its order (reduced to Aristotle's Unities) reflected a Universal Order, that respect for tradition discouraged revolutionary thought. Happening just before The Enlightenment  (or, perhaps more accurately, as an early skirmish that kicked the whole thing off).


They were unapologetic about theatre as propaganda: equally, by the time Diderot got around to writing long justifications of his tedious scripts, he realised that a bourgeois theatre, with a new format known latterly as dram, could encourage different ways of thinking. His plays, which have never been satisfactorily integrated into canon, addressed matters like 'the role of the father'. All worthy issue plays owe their genesis to Diderot's dialogues. Plays dealing with wider, existentialist themes could owe as much to Greek Tragedy.

Of course, the two terms of the ruckus have never been that clear: Euripides was dealing with Athenian politics in The Trojan Women, and Beckett's Endgame speaks to cold-war paranoia, yet both are Aristotlean in format. As Diderot was smart enough t notice, theorists make labels after artists make work. Yet The Quarrel did have Racine storming out of the Academie Francaise when Perrault read a paper about how great the modern age is. Lines were drawn. Corneille's Le Cid, for example, was declared naughty by the Acadamie for not following Aristotle in its structure, even if audiences loved it.