“Tangled passions”: realism and lyricism in the plays of Peter Gill

McEvoy, William (2021) “Tangled passions”: realism and lyricism in the plays of Peter Gill. Modern Drama, 64 (4). pp. 442-457. ISSN 0026-7694

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Abstract

This article argues that the work of Welsh theatre director and playwright Peter Gill occupies a unique place in post-1960s’ British playwriting. It explores Gill’s plays as – using theatre critic Susannah Clapp’s phrase – the “missing link” between kitchen-sink realism and more self-consciously poetic forms of theatre text. Gill’s plays make an important contribution to the history of working-class representation in UK theatre for three main reasons: first, the centrality he gives to Wales, Welsh working-class characters, and the city of Cardiff; second, his emphasis on the experience of women, especially mothers; and third, his focus on young male characters expressing and exploring the complexities of same-sex desire. The plays make advances in terms of realist dialogue and structure while also experimenting with layout, repetition, fragmentation, poetic description, and monologue narration. Gill’s work realistically documents the impact of poverty, cramped housing conditions, and social deprivation on his characters as part of a political project to show the lives of Welsh working-class people on stage. While doing so, Gill innovates in his handling of time, perspective, viewpoint, and genre. His plays occupy a distinctive place in the history of British, working-class, gay theatre, helping us to rethink what each of these three key terms means.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2022 08:38
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2022 09:18
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/103726

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