Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Plough and the Stars & Riots

Less than ten years after the 1916 Easter Rising, Sean O'Casey wrote The Plough and the Stars. These riots were eerily reminiscent of the Playboy Riots that had occurred less than twenty years before.

This riot comes from a misinterpretation of the play's agenda. It was termed anti-nationalist in its portrayal of the uprising that to the Irish had been like our declaration of Independence. What O'Casey was pointing out, however, was that the uprising had failed. Rather than continuing to do something to overthrow the British rule, the Irish instead sat back and immortalized the failed action in ballad and story. They were becoming more obsessed with the act of failing than the continued act of rebellion.

Once again We would like to think about a piece that is in such opposition to a nation's view of itself - asking all the important questions of identity that people don't want to hear - that it is able to cause a riot. What do we have that is the equivalent of that? There are many voices in America that would have us believe that we are in the wrong on many topics - why isn't there a artistic movement that really questions these topics? Have we fully subscribed to the idea of the happy ending at the end of a musical comedy? Or have we been completely overwhelmed by the assault of digital media that we are not responding to the living and breathing theatre.

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