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Essay Questions (Term 1)

  1. “One thing was clear by the mid-Fifties: the generational, class and cultural divisions that had been bubbling away for some time in British society were at last beginning to find their expression on the public stage” (Michael Billington, State of the Nation). Discuss how any two playwrights studied this term represent generational, class, or cultural divisions in post-war Britain.
  2. “Approaching drama from the point of view of the function of gender can expand horizons of meaning, aesthetic pleasure, and the interpretive possibilities of plays” (Michelene Wandor, Look Back in Gender). Examine the ways in which two playwrights studied this term address gender.
  3. “Well! This is the place” (Helen, A Taste of Honey). Analyse the presentation of stage space in any two plays studied this term.
  4. “You look at me as if I’m talking in a foreign language” (Ronnie, Chicken Soup with Barley). Consider the role of language in the work of any two playwrights studied this term.
  5. “If you press me for a definition, I’d say that what goes on in my plays is realistic, but what I’m doing is not realism” (Pinter). Discuss realism in the work of any two playwrights studied this term.
  6. “The police are for the protection of ordinary people” (McLeavy, Loot). Explore how two playwrights studied this term represent the welfare state.
  7. Compare and contrast the ways in which any two British playwrights studied this term deploy violence onstage.
  8. Devise a question of your own. To do so, please talk to your seminar tutor before the end of Term 2, Week 2.