How to “Reshape the Contours of Northern Irish Drama”? The Neo- Brechtian Use of Music in The Belle of The Belfast City (1989) by Christina Reid - Publications des membres d'ARDAA (Association pour la Recherche en Didactique de l'Anglais et en Acquisition) Access content directly
Journal Articles Coup de théâtre Year : 2011

How to “Reshape the Contours of Northern Irish Drama”? The Neo- Brechtian Use of Music in The Belle of The Belfast City (1989) by Christina Reid

Abstract

At a time when Northern Ireland needed to find political, economic and social answers to the ongoing conflicts seeping through its streets, some of its playwrights were bringing another response to the Troubles. If they still made them the background of their plays, their perspective changed so that theatre would still function as a "mirror up to the nation" but would provide other poeitic means to achieve national identity (FITZPATRICK 2005: 321). Christina Reid, born in the Ardoyne area of Belfast in 1942, wrote in 1989 The Belle of the Belfast City in that context. Her play, which verges on a musical, looks at "ways in which class, religion, politics and gender shape the Northern Irish lives through the lens of women's experiences" as Mary Trotter put it (2000: 173). Reid's piece-which received the George Devine award-focuses on the experience of three generations of Protestant women from the working-class community at the backdrop of the signing of the Anglo-Irish agreement in 1985. Most Northern Irish Protestants considered this event to be a betrayal on the British government's part (HUTCHINSON 2000: 16). Reid's feminine characters give their own perception in turn on the rally which is about to take place to protest against this agreement. Yet, if Reid's dialogues sound naturalistic, she tends to get away from realism, making use of anti-illusionist devices as many "women's writings have tended away from realism and naturalism, inspired by models that include melodrama, parody, the grotesque, symbolism, and expressionism" according to Lisa Fitzpatrick in "Disrupting Metanarratives: Anne Devlin, Christina Reid, Marina Carr and the Irish Dramatic Repertory" (2005: 323). Should we consider like Jackie Fletcher in an article entitled "Realism, Feminism and the Northern Irish Women Playwrights of the '80s" that Reid works within the framework of "women's theatre companies [that] emerged as splinter-groups within the socialist fringe movement [and] adopted the model used for socialist theatre, which is defined as the Brechtian model" (8), then we may look for the clues enabling us to assert that her play has Brechtian resonances. This idea is supported by Diderik Roll-Hansen who wrote on how Reid's previous play, Tea in a China Cup, "outlines dramatic strategies that have remained characteristic of [her] work, such as her flexible post-Brechtian handling of the changes of time and place both

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hal-03844073 , version 1 (08-11-2022)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03844073 , version 1

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Virginie Privas-Bréauté. How to “Reshape the Contours of Northern Irish Drama”? The Neo- Brechtian Use of Music in The Belle of The Belfast City (1989) by Christina Reid. Coup de théâtre, 2011. ⟨hal-03844073⟩
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