I would identify myself as a socialist as well as a theatre-maker.
On 14 March, a short play I wrote about the 1974 Clay Cross rents dispute (where the Labour council, backed by a strong labour movement campaign, refused to implement a Tory act increasing council rents) will have a reading (i.e. a rehearsed, but not full, performance) as part of a new writing festival at the Pomegranate Theatre in Chesterfield.
Nadya Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot, have been sentenced to two years in jail for “hooliganism” for performing their “Punk Prayer” at Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Russia’s main Christian Orthodox place of worship.
Nadya Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, three members of Russian punk band ‘Pussy Riot’, have been sentenced to a two year jail term for ‘hooliganism’ as a result of a perform
In the study of arts-based subjects, the tendency might be to apply theories (“isms”) to pieces of art as a kind of critique, as a way of approaching a text, etc, from a certain perspective, in order to write a convincing essay.
In early 1987 there was a public controversy about "Perdition", a play by Jim Allen, a radical writer with a Trotskyist background, which was scheduled to be directed by Ken Loach at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
Critics claimed that the play, representing Zionists as collaborating with the Nazis in the massacre of Jews in Hungary, was anti-Jewish, and designed primarily to "delegitimise" Israel; defenders argued that it was being banned for highlighting awkward truths.
The Royal Court cancelled the production at a late stage. Later, the play, in an amended version, was published, and in 1999 it was performed at the Gate Theatre in London.
- Sean Matgamna's critique of "Perdition" in Workers' Liberty 6, arguing against the cancellation under pressure but contending that the play was indeed anti-Jewish
- Tony Greenstein's first polemic
- Sean Matgamna takes a second look at "Perdition"
- Tony Greenstein's second polemic
- Sean Matgamna's second reply
When the Royal Court Theatre decided at the last minute not to go ahead with its scheduled production of Jim Allen's play about the massacre of the Jews of Hungary in 1944, 'Perdition', a flood of discussion, polemic and recrimination was unleashed in the press. It had already been the subject of protests by various prominent Jews and of publicity in the press.
Jim Allen is accused of being "vainglorious, boastful" and the campaign against the banning of Perdition is described as being "smart" and "disingenuous" ("The Perdition Affair" by John O'Mahony, WL6).
Tony Greenstein praises and justifies 'Perdition' by pointing to some of those who are against it. That's altogether too crude. Yet it is the normal standard of judgement used by the two-camps left in world politics.
I would be the last person to complain that the reply to my letter in Workers' Liberty 7 was more than four times the length of the original.