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Domestic Place as Contestatory Space: the Kitchen as Catalyst and Crucible

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 January 2009


‘Kitchen-sink’ drama was a term used (in the main by its detractors) of the drama of the late 'fifties and 'sixties located outside the drawing-room milieu then preferred by conventional West End playwrights. It was always an inaccurate term, in that many of the plays so described neither took place in domestic kitchens nor – more to Marcia Blumberg's point – addressed the issue of the place's usual attendant: a woman. Recognizing the dominance of the kitchen as an icon, and of its related domestic chores as traditionally the tasks of women, two performance artists have recently, and in very different ways, explored the actuality of ‘Kitchen’ occupations and preoccupations. Bobby Baker's Kitchen Show (1991) used ‘found’ environments of actual kitchens, including her own, to produce ‘new and often subversive significations’, while in Kitchen Blues (1990) the South African dramatist Jeanne Goosen constructed a ‘complex feminist bricolage’ through the voices and actions of a quartet of women, embodying ‘the multiple intersections of gender in a shocking tragi-comic evocation of personal upheaval during a period of flux in South Africa’. Marcia Blumberg, herself a South African, has recently been teaching in Britain with the Open University.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1998

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