Performance, Cognition, and the Representation of Interiority
Edited By Werner Huber, Elke Mettinger and Eva Zettelmann
John Arden and Margaretta D’Arcy – A Cognitive Approach
A Personal Note Serving as an Introduction
It was on a dark and rainy winter evening in 1980 when I arrived at John Arden’s and Margaretta D’Arcy’s home in London. Although I had announced my visit and had asked to see them and to talk to them about their literary work, they did not seem to be in the right mood to grant me an interview. John did not even bother to come down from his study room upstairs, where he was busy working on a play. Disappointed and almost on my way out again, I instinctively turned round at the last minute trying to get my foot in the door; however I could not think of a more intelligent question than to ask them which of their plays would be most helpful for me to start with when studying their work. Margaretta passed my question on to John upstairs, who, without hesitation, shouted back: “Tell him to read ‘Pearl’”. That was the end of my “interview”. Why Pearl? Why a play for radio and not one for the theatre? Had they not, even as early as 1980, already written more than ten plays, as for example The Waters of Babylon, Live Like Pigs, Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance, The Workhouse Donkey, The Island of the Mighty, and many more? Moreover, I felt a little bit snubbed by John, treated somehow like
Those nosey parkers who prefer
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