The Discreet Charm of Apocalypse: Caryl Churchill’s Escaped Alone at the Royal Court
Keywords:Churchill, Escaped Alone, Royal Court, dystopia, environment, Absurdism
Caryl Churchill’s Escaped Alone premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in January 2016 under the direction of James Macdonald, and was revived, at the same venue and with the same cast, between 25 January and 11 February 2017, before going on tour in the UK and USA. After a brief overview of Churchill’s latest production, I will focus on her preference for short theatrical forms as well as for environmental and eschatological themes. Escaped Alone will be briefly introduced in this frame, with a particular attention to its kinship with Far Away. The February 8 2017 performance will then be reviewed with regard to the text, the acting, and the stage design. Macdonald’s choices will be discussed, stressing the difficulties and the advantages of staging a play with minimal stage direction; Churchill’s relationship with the director, and her role in rehearsal and in the mise en scène will be considered too. Finally, I will suggest that Churchill, in her experimenting with theatrical language, has been distancing herself from her socialrealistic works of the Seventies and Eighties, going towards a theatre reminiscent of Absurdist theatre in general, and Samuel Beckett in particular.
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