Stefka Mihaylova, School of Drama
In post-WW II American and British theatre practice and scholarship, the expression “radical theatre” typically implies leftist social ideas. At the turn of the 21st century, however, radicalism has also become associated with religion, as in “radical Islam,” and some have critiqued theatre’s overwhelming preference for works espousing liberal social ideas. Can and should theatre make room for non-leftist radical ideas? And does non-leftist radical theatre necessarily imply fascist theatre? This talk invites reflection on these questions, by focusing on several examples: the riots of the Sikh community in Birmingham, UK, in 2005, in response to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s production of Behzti (Dishonour), in which a Sikh religious leader rapes a young woman in the temple; and the virtual absence of religious drama on contemporary US stages and in the American twentieth-century canon.