UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Manchester : a modern morality play in three acts Smith, Adrienne


This is a play about the city of Manchester in 1842, just a few short months before the Plug Riots, and a few years before an important strike by the region's miners. While it deals with working class political activism, the play is informed by performance theory and is about the performative nature of identity, rather than being strictly an intervention into the 'condition of the working class1 literature. It interrogates, rather than celebrates. The play is prefaced by some programatic programme notes which orient the play in theory. The play is modelled on medieval morality plays and follows the misadventures of a character called Everyman as he is led astray and then finds his way, more or less, back to the "correct" path. It also follows Manchester on the same journey. However the play is a modern morality play, and that means none of the loose threads are tied up at the end. The city of Manchester is more than just a neutral setting where the action unfolds; it is an active staging, which makes possible the various staged performances for the actors, and for ourselves. The play explores issues around the performative, and urges the audience members to move past their experience as spectators and to take the play's radical notion of the performative out of the theatre and into the world.

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