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The things that scorch us: fantasies of origin, the transcultural spectator and the theatre of Rona Munro

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Abstract:

What is it that gives a particular piece of theatre an appeal which transcends the culture from which it originally emerged? The processes of translation and adaptation clearly have a role in the successful engagement of audiences of different periods and cultures with a particular play in performance; but are there certain themes and issues that transcend borders of time or place? Rona Munro's Iron, first produced at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh in 2002, has been subsequently translated into at least fifteen languages and licensed for production in approximately 21 countries. This article, using two complementary theoretical models of spectatorship and taking three productions (Edinburgh, Athens and Osaka) as case studies, proposes an account of the engagement of the spectator, in both theoretical and practical terms, focusing on the relationship between the play and the spectator and considering how the performance is re-accommodated and re-read within three contemporary but contrasting social, artistic and theatrical contexts.

Keywords: Freud; Iron; Munro; fantasy; spectator; transcultural

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/stap.29.3.253/1

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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  • Studies in Theatre and Performance is a peer-reviewed journal which fosters a progressive forum to explore the nuances of theatre practice. The journal provides a critical scope to include other related disciplines in its scrutiny of the stage, exploring the interplay between performance, audience and dramatic practice.
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