This collection documents and examines political and protest theatre produced between the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and Obama’s election in 2008 by British and American artists responding to their own governments’ actions and policies during this time. The plays take up topics such as the ongoing wars on terror, Blair’s support of U.S. policies, the flawed intelligence that led to the Iraq war, and illegal detentions and torture at Abu Ghraib. The authors argue that engaged artists faced a radically different sociopolitical context for their work after 9/11 compared to earlier social protest movements and new forms of theatre, and different emotional strategies were necessary to meet the challenges. The subtitle Patriotic Dissent suggests the double stance of many artists-- influenced by patriotic expressions of national solidarity, yet critical of the ways that patriotic language was put to use against others. The articles represent a broad range of theatre: Broadway musicals, documentary theatre, adaptations of classical theatre, new plays by British playwrights, street performances and installations, and musical concerts. The contributors’ case studies evaluate the effectiveness of important instances of political theatre and protest from this decade, arguing for the significance, relevance, and continuing necessity for evolving forms of political theatre today.

chapter |16 pages

Editor’s Introduction

part |2 pages

Part I : Mainstages

part |2 pages

Part II : Alternative Spaces

chapter 8|16 pages

Why We Have Failed: Culture Project’s Iraq War Plays


chapter 9|13 pages

Descent as Dissent: Arab American Theatrical Responses to 9/11


chapter 10|18 pages

A View of The Brig: From the Cage to the Street


chapter 14|16 pages

The Maladapted Hothead Paisan: A Lesbian Comedy of Terrors


chapter |4 pages

List of Contributors