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 |15 pages

Editor's Introduction

ByJenny Spencer

part |91 pages


chapter |15 pages

The Ubiquitous Orange Jumpsuit

Staging Iconic Images and the Production of the Commons
ByJoshua Abrams

chapter |10 pages

America as Rogue State

Caryl Churchill's Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?
ByAmelia Howe Kritzer

chapter |16 pages

Terrorized by the War on Terror

Mark Ravenhill's Shoot / Get Treasure / Repeat
ByJenny Spencer

chapter |14 pages

Unraveling the “Golden Thread”

Performing the Politics of Black Watch
ByMarcia Blumberg

chapter |15 pages

Voices of the Other

Documentary and Oral History Performance in Post-9/11 British Theatre
ByRyan Claycomb

part |126 pages

Alternative Spaces

chapter |16 pages

Why We Have Failed

Culture Project's Iraq War Plays
ByJeanne Colleran

chapter |13 pages

Descent as Dissent

Arab American Theatrical Responses to 9/11
ByDalia Basiouny

chapter |18 pages

A View of The Brig

From the Cage to the Street
ByKaty Ryan

chapter |17 pages

Camping on the Streets, Squares, and Wastelands of Power

Theatrical Protest and the “War on Terror” in the U.K.
ByJenny Hughes

chapter |17 pages

Patriot Acts

All-American Tactical Performance in the Age of Permawar
ByL.M. Bogad

chapter |11 pages

Performing Citizenship

The Concert for New York City and the Construction of Post-9/11 America
ByJennifer L. Chan

chapter |16 pages

The Maladapted Hothead Paisan

A Lesbian Comedy of Terrors
BySara Warner