ON CHURCHILL'S INFLUENCES
Rebellato, Dan. 'On Churchill's Influences.' In Cambridge Companion to Caryl Churchill, edited by Elaine Aston and Elin Diamond, 163-79. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
This essay is for a volume in the prestigious Cambridge Companions series.
The central argument of the essay is to dispute a common view of her work, which is this: that the central and most characteristic period of her work was the explicitly political phase which perhaps lasted from Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (1976) to Serious Money (1987); that the plays, while formally sophisticated, were nonetheless clear in their referents: identity politics in Cloud 9, Thatcherism in Top Girls, the City in Serious Money; that she was drawn to devising and collaborative processes for political reasons.
I argue that instead her interest in joining collaborative processes was because of the opportunities for ‘play’ and dreaming. I suggest that actually her writing seems increasingly strained and her imagination constrained through the 1980s, leading to her part-break with Max Stafford-Clark and the radically new direction of her work in the 1990s. I suggest that actually her work after 1990 and before 1975 have greater affinities and focusing on her more explicit work misrepresents her theatrical and political significance.