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‘And So This Is What Happened’: War Stories in New Plays for Children

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 October 2005

Abstract

In this essay Adrienne Scullion explores the representation of war – and in particular of the Second World War – in contemporary theatre for children, considering how the narrative and performative conventions of drama communicate ideas about the conflict to young audiences. She argues that a taxonomy identified in relation to juvenile war literature – discourses of testimony and documentary, propaganda and escapism, myth and metaphor – resonates just as significantly in drama. This proposition is investigated in readings of three recent plays – Stephen Greenhorn's King Matt (TAG, 2001), David Greig's Dr Korczak's Example (TAG, 2001), and Nicola McCartney's Lifeboat (Catherine Wheels, 2002). She proposes that all three plays make different use of the conventions of telling war stories and those of theatrical performance to represent and describe war and, thereby, to explore contemporary values and expressions of citizenship – a declared goal of public policy-making in the UK. Adrienne Scullion teaches in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2005, Cambridge University Press

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