Howard Brenton: Magnificence

(1040 words)

Magnificence (Royal Court, 1973) was the first of Howard Brenton’s plays to be staged in a major theatre and was widely perceived by advocates of the fringe or alternative theatre in the early 1970s as evidence of a more general movement: in Brenton’s words, “Forging brand new public theatre out of what has been learnt in the small theatres.” Stylistically and politically, Magnificence seems to be very much a fringe play in its concerns and its use of shock tactics.

It is the story of a group of squatters, including Jed and Mary, who make a political statement about government housing policy by taking over a disused house. Police and bailiffs brutally evict them – Mary loses her baby …

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Barfield, Steve, Ian Foakes. "Magnificence". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 January 2005
[, accessed 27 November 2015.]