The article focuses on Caryl Churchill’s This Is a Chair (1997) and Far Away (2000) to analyse Churchill’s political shape shifting at the turn of the millennium, when ideological resistance to capitalism had all but disappeared. Positioning This Is a Chair as a critical-political turning point in Churchill’s repertoire, I argue that René Magritte’s visual thinking about the arbitrary relation of words and things is seminal to Churchill’s struggle to create a political-theatre canvas. In relation to Far Away, I demonstrate how Churchill’s critique of global capitalism involves a dissolve – the appearing, yet disappearing, traces of the Brechtian dramaturgy of her earlier playwriting, and a renewal of the epic through a composition that is both experiential and elliptical. Ultimately, the article argues that the need to impress on audiences the urgency of dis-identifying with capitalism informs Churchill’s political perspective through a dialectic shift from Herbert Blau’s “imminence of a ‘not-yet’” to the negative of “but not that.”


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pp. 145-164
Launched on MUSE
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