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Community Politics and the Peace Process in Contemporary Northern Irish Drama

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Eva Urban

This book examines theatre within the context of the Northern Ireland conflict and peace process, with reference to a wide variety of plays, theatre productions and community engagements within and across communities. The author clarifies both the nature of the social and political vision of a number of major contemporary Northern Irish dramatists and the manner in which this vision is embodied in text and in performance. The book identifies and celebrates a tradition of playwrights and drama practitioners who, to this day, challenge and question all Northern Irish ideologies and propose alternative paths. The author’s analysis of a selection of Northern Irish plays, written and produced over the course of the last thirty years or so, illustrates the great variety of approaches to ideology in Northern Irish drama, while revealing a common approach to staging the conflict and the peace process, with a distinct emphasis on utopian performatives and the possibility of positive change.

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Chapter 4 Caricaturing Iconographies or Puppet Masters with Broken Strings in Tim Loane’s To Be Sure or How to Count Chickens When They Come Home to Roost and Caught Red Handed or How to Prune a Whin Bush 167

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Chapter 4 Caricaturing Iconographies or Puppet Masters with Broken Strings in Tim Loane’s To Be Sure or How to Count Chickens When They Come Home to Roost and Caught Red Handed or How to Prune a Whin Bush A caricature is a ‘picture or other representation that exaggerates the par- ticular physical or facial features, dress, or manners of an individual to produce a ludicrous effect.’ The term and genre springs from the Italian caricare, to load or overload, hence to exaggerate. Caricature is used ‘to ridicule political, social, or religious situations and institutions, or actions by various groups or classes of a society’.1 The genre of caricature has been used widely and contradictorily in art, literature or theatre, both as an aristocratic game and as a method of undermining the powerful, before, during and after the French Revolution, by revolutionaries against royalists, and later, not without irony, by royalists against the reign of Napoleon. Caricature has a strong tradition in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty- first centuries as an artistic form of political commentary in newspapers and magazines – one need look no farther than the British Punch. It has also been employed as a dramaturgical technique by a number of modern playwrights, such as the Italian Dario Fo. Tim Loane declares himself a follower of Dario Fo’s particular form of political farces, which borrow heavily from the Italian commedia dell’arte tradi tion, to highlight political corruption, hypocrisy, injustice and oppres- sion. Tim Loane seeks to expose and satirize similar...

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