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ERIC Number: EJ1106452
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1356-9783
"X"--Realism, Fantasy and Heroism in the National Youth Theatre's "The Block"
Beswick, Katie
Research in Drama Education, v20 n2 p177-181 2015
In 2010, as part of the National Youth Theatre's social inclusion educational outreach programme "Playing Up 2," young people identified as "NEETS" (Not in Education, Employment or Training) performed a new-writing play called "The Block," by first time playwright Tarkan Cetinkaya. This play is set on an unnamed London council estate, and follows the intersecting lives of 10 estate denizens, brought together by the central character, Barry/Baz, and his struggle with an unspecified personality disorder. I argue that social inclusion practices work within a "heroic paradigm." Many of the young people involved in the project lived or had lived on estates, and many faced ongoing social and economic problems that had interfered with their ability to find employment. In the final scene of the play, which up until this point follows the conventions of social realism, a mysterious character named "X" is revealed to be a superhero. He turns back time and changes the course of events in the play, saving a young woman's life and preventing her brother from embarking on a lifetime of punishment, guilt and regret. This paper problematises the character of "X," exploring how the relationship between realism and fantasy, in this performance, worked to suggest that social change hinges upon intervention from an outside "hero." I ask what the implications of this message might be for participants and audience members and explore how the narrative of "The Block" intersects with the National Youth Theatre's wider social inclusion policy.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A