‘We are folk / Who understand unhampered language best’: Peter Oswald, T. S. Eliot, and the Possibilities of (Contemporary) Poetic Drama at Shakespeare’s Globe

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Shakespeare’s Globe is a space built for plays in which ‘verse is always at the centre of the dramatic argument’ (Cantoni: 43). This was the case made by Mark Rylance, the London venue’s first artistic director, in his application for funding to commission verse dramatist Peter Oswald as the theatre’s first contemporary playwright-in-residence in 1998. Since its inception, The Globe has programmed a number of contemporary productions foregrounding the use of verse, including texts by Glyn Maxwell and Tony Harrison. This article will, however, concern itself with identifying the particular challenges and questions which faced the first three verse plays commissioned by the new Globe, all by Peter Oswald. Together the three form a group of texts which by definition are centrally self-conscious about the presence, purpose, and effect of verse in contemporary English theatre.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-139
Number of pages21
JournalCoup de Théâtre
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes

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