Cosmotopia: Transnational Identities in David Greig’s Theatre

Edited by Anja Müller and Clare Wallace

Chapter: Suspect Cultures and Home Truths by Mark Fisher and David Greig

David Greig is one of Scotland’s most important contemporary dramatists. Yet his extensive achievements and the popularity of much of his work notwithstanding, Greig has yet to receive his due in terms of critical consideration.

Transnational Identities in David Greig’s Theatre is framed by a critical introduction surveying the playwright’s drama and its significance within the context of contemporary theatre. The volume offers the first sustained and multifocal analysis of his work with a collection of twelve original scholarly essays and a specially commissioned interview with the author, focused upon a major and recurring theme in his plays, and one that is of keen theoretical importance in cultural studies today – the ways in which globalisation and postmodernity have transformed contemporary identity politics and the possibility of an engaged theatre.

As Dan Rebellato has observed in the introduction to Plays 1, a prominent feature of Greig’s work is the impact of globalisation upon notions of identity, belonging and citizenship. Whereas Victoria, The Architect and Outlying Islands are located in Scotland, the greater part of Greig’s dramatic works explores the significance of place and non-places from various perspectives. Temporally too Greig’s work roams across significant periods or events in (notably European) history, be it the emergence of Capitalism in Eighteenth-Century Europe (The Speculator), the World Wars (Outlying Islands), the Holocaust (Dr Korczak’s Example), the war in former Yugoslavia (Europe) or the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq (The American Pilot).

The representations of the modern world that emerge in Greig’s work, suggest a transnational space, a contact zone where characters with diverse national, ethnic, class or religious backgrounds negotiate their different positions, perspectives and identities.

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