commitment – 4/10/14

We’re working through Skriker in playwriting class… some nice contextualization, here… Silence = beyond commodification? Maybe.


Bringing the Global Home: The Commitment of Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker

–       Candice Amich

‘Refusing to offer facile solutions to the devastations of profit driven globalization, Churchill relies on formal innovation to communicate what politics alone cannot. In this way, The Skriker achieves what Theodor Adorno asks of the politically committed work of art: ‘‘[a]rt is not a matter of pointing up alternatives but rather of resisting, solely through artistic form, the course of the world, which continues to hold a pistol to the heads of human beings’’.


‘There is no space that the Skriker cannot penetrate. She provides a whirlwind tour of the global that touches down in the very centre of Josie’s and Lily’s lives, wiping out the possibility of privacy.


‘According to David Harvey, this radical instability is engendered by the economic and political changes associated with the transition, in the last thirty years, from Fordism to more flexible modes of capital accumulation. The socially disruptive effects of time–space compression that define this transition have, meanwhile, been accompanied by a cultural crisis of representation. In The Condition of Postmodernity, Harvey outlines four responses to the ‘‘travails’’ of this speed-up and spatial collapse: ‘‘to bow down before the overwhelming sense of how vast, intractable, and outside any individual or even collective control everything is’’; to represent the world ‘‘in terms of highly simplified rhetorical propositions’’; to reject the global for the local; or ‘‘to try and ride the tiger of time–space compression through construction of a language and an imagery that can mirror and hopefully command it’’.


‘In his essay on ‘‘Commitment,’’ Adorno posits that politically efficacious writing does not advocate a particular position but rather employs language that ‘‘rattles the cage of meaning and through its distance from meaning rebels from the outset against a positive assumption of meaning’’.


‘In A Brief History of Neoliberalism, David Harvey defines ‘‘neo-liberalism’’ as ‘‘a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets and free trade’’.’

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