The 1990s - Imperialism
Workshopped in 1991, Pieter-Dirk Uys’ Panorama juxtaposes anti-apartheid campaigners in gaol and white middle-class women shackled by their ignorance and fear. (Using comedy to expose the absurdities of the South African government’s racial policies, Uys developed the character of Tannie Evita, an Afrikaner socialite inspired by Australia’s Dame Edna Everage.)
Caryl Churchill’s Cloud 9 moves from 1879 in darkest Africa to 1979 in a besieged “colony” in Thatcher’s London. With hindsight we can ridicule our Victorian ancestors’ behaviour; it’s more difficult to do the same with our own stereotyping.
In Brian Friel’s Translations English Royal Engineers arrive in a small rural Irish-speaking community in 1833 to Anglicise the Celtic place names. A play about military and cultural imperialism, it was reviewed as relevant to multi-lingual and modern techno-driven societies where people communicate in short sharp bursts. Tom Bannerman (awarded the 2002 Chief Glug’s Award for Excellence Behind the Scenes) designed the evocative hedge school set.