Howard Brenton, Magnificence

Steve Barfield (University of Human Development, Suleymanyia, Iraqi Kurdistan); Ian Foakes (Independent Scholar - Europe)
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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 after being kicked by a bailiff. Jed, her lover, assaults a policeman, and is radicalised after

1038 words

Citation: Barfield, Steve, Ian Foakes. "Magnificence". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 January 2005 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=13571, accessed 15 June 2024.]

13571 Magnificence 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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