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Critical Theory: theatre and post-structuralism

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  1. Introduction
  2. The title Blue Heart
    1. The ingredient which makes all plays
    2. The necessity of reducing the unique
    3. From 'How do you do?' to 'Blue do you Blue'
  3. A universally felt anxiety
  4. Knowledge taken from language
  5. Repetition in Heart's Desire
  6. The conception of time and space
  7. This frustration developed by the deconstructionist approach
  8. Conclusion
  9. Bibliography

Post-structuralism derives from philosophy , ? a discipline which has always tended to emphasise the difficulty of achieving secure knowledge about things' (Barry;1995:63) .Philosophical writing, although following the structure thesis, anti-thesis then a synthesis of both, always comes back to the question, never achieving a single answer, a single truth, and opening the conflict even more.
Elaine Aston (1997: pg.un) has expressed that because of ?her experimental approach to dramatic and theatrical form, Churchill's theatre is not just a question of politics, but a politics of style'. In Blue Heart, which presents two short plays, one featuring the relationship between a father and daughter and the other between mother and son, form and content are constantly interrogated through a deconstruction of the concepts of plot, language and structure.
In Heart's Desire, where a couple awaits their daughter's return from Australia, the action is set back and altered. In Blue Kettle, a middle-aged man looks for his biological mother and as the action evolves, the words ?blue' and ?kettle' appear in the dialogue. Common to both pieces however is the questioning of the unity in the text and structure. This is why we can explore the contradictions that are exposed both in the language and structure of Blue Heart.

[...] Therefore, words, characters, actions and meanings are free to evolve in time and space as, according to Barry (1995:61, enter a universe of radical uncertainty, ( ) a gravity- free universe.' This frustration is developed by the deconstructionist approach, which ?looks for evidence of gaps, breaks, fissures and discontinuities of all kinds' (Barry; 1995:72). In Heart's Desire (1997: Alice asks she- ?' and is interrupted by a back to top as before. Brian enters putting on old cardigan'. This breaks the action at a key moment where a clue might be given. [...]


[...] Barry also points out that ?there is an almost universally felt anxiety that the language will express things we hadn't intended, or convey the wrong expression, or betray our ignorance, callousness, or confusion.' (1995:62) Post-structuralism plays with these anxieties in the sense that there are possibilities within the words themselves and they can be altered at any time, as when Alice remarks don't sleem peased you don't pleem (1997 : 14) then later don't seem pleased, you seem cross.'(1997: 14). [...]


[...] She destroys it and the possibility of a set pattern is dismissed. In Heart's Desire, repetition creates a ritual, which, by developing, could imply that meanings become clearer as the action evolves. However, the contrary happens. By constantly setting back the action and altering it, any possible evidence becomes less and less clear, and the only discernible, and possibly essential, meaning that we are able to understand is Brian's brief utterance, are my heart's desire'(1997 : 33). But perhaps this is all that there was to understand. [...]

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