ABSTRACT

The theatre is an urban institution. This has been the case for a very long time, and in fact theatrical gatherings foreshadowed large-scale urbanisation. The on-stage and off-stage aspects of theatre happening in and representing urban life cast light on each other. While classical LUS has merely glanced at theatre, work on specific areas of drama, exemplified here by the council estate plays of UK dramatist Andrea Dunbar, points to a spatialised and multifocal way of reading drama through this lens. A concept at stake is setting, which may be considerably more elusive than when a playwright seems to be very directly representing a setting on stage. Contextual reading suggests urban connections for drama not seemingly set in a city, or set in a way that excludes the outside world, for example in a near-empty room. Historical study of regulation and place indexicality enters the story via seventeenth- and eighteenth-century drama of London. The main case studies are of plays by August Strindberg and Lorraine Hansberry.