London Theatre Seminar
Thursday, 9 October 2014, 6.30-8.30pm
Room 349, Senate House (3rd floor)
Dan Rebellato (Royal Holloway, University of London), ‘Naturalist Theatre and the Problem of Homosexuality’
Naturalist theatre was a movement that placed the highest priority on representing the contemporary world, exposing social problems, and drawing on the latest scientific thinking to do so. So why didn’t it address homosexuality, which would seem to meet all of these requirements? Or, since it’s too crude to say simply that it didn’t, in what ways did it not address homosexuality and why? What does it mean to say historically that ‘something didn’t happen’? In this paper, part of a larger book project on Naturalism on stage, I want to look at the multiple absences of homosexuality in Naturalist Theatre, drawing on a range of different instances and case studies. The talk will touch on – and I mean touch on – theatre and literature, urban studies, psychology and sexology, military and art history, international relations, legal theory, criminology, cultural studies, and late-nineteenth-century French history. I’ll consider, amongst other things, the adaptations of Nana (1881) and La Fin de Lucie Pellegrin (1888), the non-staging of Lawn Tennis in 1891, the figuration of homosexuality in novels and stories like Mademoiselle Giraud, Ma Femme (1870), Maupassant’s ‘La Femme de Paul’ (1881) and La Comtesse de Chalis (1867), as well as the curious story of Dr Laupts.
Dan Rebellato is Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Royal Holloway University of London and is currently Head of the Department of Drama and Theatre. He has published widely on contemporary British theatre His books include 1956 and All That, Theatre & Globalization, Contemporary European Theatre Directors, The Suspect Culture Book, and Modern British Playwriting 2000-2009. He is co-editor, with Jen Harvie, of the Theatre & series for Palgrave Macmillan and is currently writing Naturalist Theatre: A New Critical History for Routledge. He is also a playwright and his plays for stage and radio – including Here’s What I Did With My Body One Day, Static, Chekhov in Hell, Cavalry, and My Life Is A Series of People Saying Goodbye – have been performed internationally. He is currently working on a major adaptation of Zola’s Les Rougon-Macquart for Radio 4.