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'Do They Want to Turn Partition into a Gilbert and Sullivan Opera?’: Performing Partition as Uncanny Farce

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Abstract

While the library of scholarship that engages with the cultural representation of the 1947 India/Pakistan partition is immense, the specific genre of theatre has been surprisingly under-examined. This chapter aims to redress this balance through a focus on a selection of Anglophone plays which deal with partition. In this chapter, I argue that a useful lens to study these plays through is that of farce. Although the plays do not always follow the generic rules of farce to any great degree, they do often aim to construct a narrative of partition as itself a farcical event. This narrative has, in turn, become a commonplace, almost hegemonic reading. Through my study of these plays, I aim to challenge some of the assumptions of this reading, arguing that while this narrative does have great dramatic potential; it does risk reinforcing a deeply problematic political narrative.
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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSouth Asian Diasporic Cinema and Theatre
Subtitle of host publicationRe-visiting Screen and Stage in the New Millennium
EditorsAjay K. Chaubey, Ashvin I. Devasundaram
PublisherRawat Publications
Pages312-334
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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