Monday, January 10, 2005

The challenge for theatre

The protests at Birmingham Rep proved that playwrights still have the power to divide communities. But, asks David Edgar in The Guardian, how can they unite them?
Should the Birmingham Rep have entered into a conversation with the Sikh community that was misinterpreted as a negotiation over the play's content? How does a theatre that accepts the challenge of giving a public voice to invisible and often embattled communities fulfil that role without compromising the need to be open and truthful about the consequences of that invisibility and that embattlement? Does a theatre have a responsibility to balance dissident perspectives with more positive portrayals (as has happened, willy nilly, in plays about the African-Caribbean and Muslim communities)? Do extreme events in a fictional drama need to be provable, plausible or feasible?

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