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Academic adds a bit of drama to the upcoming election

Posted on 19/04/2010

The Houses of Parliament

Ahead of the fiercely contested general election, BBC Radio 3 will premier a topical new play from 8pm on May 2 written by Professor Dan Rebellato, from the Department of Drama and Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Written in collaboration with Linda McLean and Duncan Macmillan, ‘And So Say All of Us’ skewers the absurdities of the most important day on the political calendar – the general election.

This new play imagines a very unusual election day, following it both through the unfolding of an absurdist political story and a delicately unsettling domestic drama. Out of this the plays spins a wild satire on politics, the media, and the failures of the political class and an exploration of the complex aspirations of the voting public.

The project began life as a ‘Later’ event for Paines Plough, curated by Professor Rebellato, trying to find new forms in which to explore the state of British politics and the collaboration between three writers has been an opportunity to share responsibility for the creative process, with all three writers trusting one another to follow a shared flight of political fantasy.

“The election isn’t really generating serious debate. There’s a strange speech act that seems to have overtaken politics," says Professor Rebellato. “In an election campaign, we need to know literally what politicians are promising; instead we have this curious evasion, a blank locution, phrases literally untrue but which sound as if they mean something - but without any references. The slogans are getting more and more vacuous. They sound like they might be meaningful but who knows what they mean?”

He says the equation for all the campaign and PR advisors across the parties is the same – trust and warm words equals a vote: “In ordinary life, we trust people because they do what they say. These things are separated in contemporary politics. They put maximum effort on the appearance of sincerity – toning down the accent, talking about ‘ordinary bloke’ things – and maximum effort to ensure that the speeches say nothing specific that could be a burr caught in the skin of our attention. It’s a depressing spectacle, and an enraging one, and it is out of that mixture of anger and despair that we wrote ‘And So Say All of Us,’” he adds.

To find out more about Professor Dan Rebellato visit: http://www.rhul.ac.uk/drama/staff/rebellato_dan/index.html


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