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Attempts on her Life: Martin Crimp (1997) ‘To say that [the play] is postmodern is like saying that the Pope is Catholic; it is also post- civilisation,

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Presentation on theme: "Attempts on her Life: Martin Crimp (1997) ‘To say that [the play] is postmodern is like saying that the Pope is Catholic; it is also post- civilisation,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Attempts on her Life: Martin Crimp (1997) ‘To say that [the play] is postmodern is like saying that the Pope is Catholic; it is also post- civilisation, post-truth, post-art, post-feeling, post-teeth, post-everything… Who cares? Not for a moment does the play suggest that its author does… [Crimp’s] method is far more depersonalised than the depersonalised modernity on which he pretends to comment’ – Alastair Macauley, Financial Times, 1997

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4 POSTMODERNISM References and allusions to popular culture An acute awareness of images: made fake and contradictory Playful, Ironic, use of Parody and Impersonation The spectator has to participate – Deconstruction – A fight against superficiality?

5 Scenario 11: Untitled (100 words) Swiss psychotherapist Carl Gustav Jung ( ) developed his 100 word association test in David Cronenberg (dir.) A Dangerous Method, 2011

6 Fredric Jameson: Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991) Jameson’s critical stance: Postmodernism is no longer a critical attitude but an empty aesthetic form. Capitalism subsumes and consumes all of previous history. Anything can return but only as a frozen aesthetic style, never as an ideal for living. We lose our connection to history. The historical past is transformed into a series of emptied-out stylisations (pastiche) that can be commodified and consumed.

7 1997: Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Stills Retrospective at MoMA, New York, Sponsored by Madonna

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10 “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Postmodern Critique “Ooh my little monsters pay / Lots cos I perform this way” –Weird Al Yankovic, Perform This Way (2011) ‘Authentity’ – or the illusion of authenticity - proves highly marketable in late capitalism. (think of the number of products described as ‘real’, ‘100% genuine’). We reproduce the styles of the past without anxiety.

11 Barbara Kruger You Are Not Yourself: 1984 I Shop Therefore I Am: 1987

12 Barbara Kruger – Selfridges Campaign (2007)

13 A world without a point? ‘She’d find the whole concept of ‘making a point’ ludicrously outmoded… the whole point of the exercise – i.e. these attempts on her own life – points to that’ (Scenario 11, Attempts on her Life) ‘You could argue that the play would not be so disturbing if it did not honourably risk a confusion between its own values and those depicted’ – Paul Taylor, The Independent, 10 May, 2000 ‘Irony is just me. Scepticism is another important value within our culture. [...] it is not the same as postmodernism, because postmodernism [...] is an embrace of [...] contradictions and even injustices which are so deeply part of our culture [...] whereas scepticism is quite different because it does imply a moral position.... That’s what my irony is about.’

14 Anne is reported to have the impression that ‘she is not a real character, not a real character like you get in a book or on TV, but a lack of character, an absence… of character’ (Scenario 6) Little Anne is reported to have confessed to her Mum and Dad that she feels ‘like a TV screen… where everything in front looks real and alive, but round the back there’s just dust and a few wires’ (Scenario 6)

15 Katie Mitchell’s 1999 production: “A powerful feminist study of the suicidal pressures on the identity-shifting modern woman” in which Mitchell made it clear that the play is about “the protective, ultimately suicidal camouflages forced on one woman by consumerist society”. “Crimp’s play radically changes its meaning according to its context”. - Michael Billington

16 Crimp’s 2 stage directions: “This piece is for a company of actors whose composition should reflect the composition of the world beyond the theatre.” “Let each scenario in words – the dialogue – unfold against a distinct world – a design - which best exposes its irony.”


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