19-20 DT2203: Theatre & Text 2: Decoding debbie tucker green

Building on DT1200 Theatre & Text, this course engages with theatre texts, and relations between text, performance and the social world. This course will explore the work of debbie tucker green, one of the most exciting black playwrights of the early twenty first century.Critical acclaim has particularly recognised her original experimental linguistic virtuosity, which this course builds upon. Director Sacha Wares describes the punctuation in debbie tucker green’s plays as a kind of ‘code’ “a bit like musical notation – instructions on the page that tell the performer when to pause, when to slow down, when to speed up, what to give an accent and so on [;...] the performer’s job is to follow the writer’s instructions and to discover for themselves the emotional or psychological reasons behind the rhythm changes” (random Background Pack, Royal Court, 2007).

This course takes Wares’ statement as a basis from which to explore the performance possibilities of debbie tucker green’s playtexts. The first half of the course will explore how debbie tucker green's play's can be analysed and staged through an emphasis on exploring the aesthetics of the writing form alongside working to understand the topical social and political human rights issues (such as genocide, urban teenage violence, sex tourism, mental health) portrayed. The impact of tucker green’s plays will be assessed through an explanation that places them alongside trends in plays by other contemporary (black) British (women) playwrights thus garnering an understanding of her work within the wider framework of 21st Century (black) British (women's) new writing. Themes to be analysed will include race, language, form, feminism, political playwriting. In the second half of the course, students will test ideas through a practical exploration of debbie tucker green's plays designed to test an aspect of de-coding the plays for particular audiences. Throughout the course, students will explore debbie tucker green's plays both critically (through discussion and essay writing), and creatively (exploring theatre texts through workshops, rehearsals, and performances).