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The Skriker (1994) Caryl Churchill. Elin Diamond on The Skriker and ‘feeling global’ ‘What it feels like in our nervous system to live in times of social.

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Presentation on theme: "The Skriker (1994) Caryl Churchill. Elin Diamond on The Skriker and ‘feeling global’ ‘What it feels like in our nervous system to live in times of social."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Skriker (1994) Caryl Churchill

2 Elin Diamond on The Skriker and ‘feeling global’ ‘What it feels like in our nervous system to live in times of social and political struggle, or, as in the last decades, at a time when multinational capital, not political debate, destabilizes the psychic and social frameworks of human connection.’

3 Frederic Jameson, quoted by Diamond Link between ‘the still surviving spaces of bourgeois private life’ and ‘the unimaginable decentering of global capital itself.’

4 The ‘Underworld’ in Fen and The Skriker To tamper with this space—and with the fictional dramatic world in which the dead stay dead—is to insist on a different way of seeing, a different order. (Elin Diamond)

5 What is the Skriker? The Skriker – ‘a shape-shifter and death portent, ancient and damaged’. Skriker’s guises: – old crone – disturbed child – loud American woman – enraged male stalker ‘You people are killing me, do you know that? I am sick, I am a sick woman.’

6 Lily re. her baby: I know everyone’s born. I can’t help it. Everything’s shifted round so she’s in the middle.

7 Ending Skriker: And this old dear me was Lily’s granddaughter what a horror storybook ending. ‘Oh I was tricked tracked wracked,’ cried our heroine distress, ‘I hoped to save the worldly, I hoped I’d make the fury better than she should be.’ And what would be comfy of her now? She didn’t know if she ate a mortal morsel she’d crumble to dust panic.

8 Lily: […] What? What’s happening? my teeth. I’m sick. Help me. What is it? It’s money. Is it? Out of my mouth? Pound coins come out of her mouth when she speaks. She stops talking and examines the money. Skriker: So lily in the pink … talking taking aching waking all night to reach retch wrench more and more and more… cash dash flash in the panic of time

9 The Skriker and Folklore Skriker – Lancashire goblin and death portent Yallery Brown – evil fairy Black Dog – the Skriker’s other shape Jennie Greenteeth – bogie that drags children into ponds Kelpie – bogie/ water horse and body eater Rawheadandbloodybones – Lancashire water demon that drags children into ponds and devours them (in Samuel Johnson’s dictionary, a ‘spectre, mentioned to frighten children’.

10 Yallery Brown

11 Jennie Greenteeth

12 Kelpie

13 Rawheadandbloodybones

14 Alison Croggon on The Skriker, VCA School of Drama, Melbourne, Australia (2006) […] in the theatre foyer, a boy, up to this point seemingly another member of the audience, is turned into a pig. Inside the theatre, we hear the sounds of animal howls and shrieks, and the beasts begin to hammer on the door [….] And thus we are led into a claustrophobic tunnel like a cattle race, dimly and obscurely lit by a single reddish-yellow lightbulb. It is like the inside of a womb […] We emerge into a corral, surrounded by higher platforms on all sides; the lights widen, and human speech begins to emerge from the squeals and growls.

15 Croggon (cont.) Much of the text—the words of the Skriker, the damaged fairy—is a collage of word association, in which meaning is on the verge of slipping into nonsense. Slit slat slut. That bitch a botch an itch in my shoulder blood. Bitch botch itch. Slat itch slit botch. Itch slut bitch slit. […] Whatever you do don’t open to do don’t open the door […]

16 Croggon (cont.) This is language as thickness, viscera, weight, saliva, sex, violence, the softness of palate and lip: language as spell and enchantment, where meaning constantly threatens to slip its noose and collapse back to animal howl and croon.

17 Enviromental damage ‘Have you noticed the large number of meteorological phenomena lately? Earthquakes. Volcanoes. Drought … The increase of sickness. It was always possible to think whatever your personal problem, there’s always nature. Spring will return, even it it’s without me. … But it’s not available any more. Sorry. Nobody loves me and the sun’s going to kill me.’ [Skriker as man] ‘Postmodernism is what you have when the modernization process is complete and nature is gone for good.’ (Frederic Jameson, cited in Diamond)

18 Critical Bibliography Candice Amich, ‘Bringing the Global Home: The Commitment of Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker’, Modern Drama, 50: 3 (Autumn 2007), 394-413 Elaine Aston, Feminist Views on the English Stage: Women Playwrights 1990-2000 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) Geraldine Cousins, ‘Owning the Disowned: The Skriker’, in Rabillard (ed.), Essays on Caryl Churchill: Contemporary Representations (Winnipeg: Blizzard, 1998) Alison Croggon, ‘Theatre Notes’ blog, Elin Diamond, ‘Caryl Churchill: Feeling Global’, in Luckhurst (ed.), A Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama 1880-2005 (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), 476-487

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