Tanika Gupta’s dramatic writing and theatrical practice is a rich oeuvre which spans across genres and media. This article argues that the main feature of her work are a critical transnational perspective in terms of her works’ local and global concerns, her consistent demand for decolonising British theatre and education and not least her distinctive humour and wit. She has been described as “our most versatile writer for stage, screen and radio”. Her career as a playwright spans more than twenty-five years and her plays have been regularly produced in major theatres across Britain since the 1990s. As a “British born Bengali” (Shaikh 2011) playwright, “inflected by her heritage, but not bound by it” (Sierz “Introduction” 15), Gupta has written numerous original plays tapping in multiple traditions and genres within English drama, while also engaging in her work with aspects of South Asian culture and history. While her political plays, such as, for example, Gladiator Games, were written as “openly political play[s]”, their politics “resonate far beyond the immediate reasons for its creation” (Sierz “Introduction” 9). Her historical plays engage with the legacy and the “lasting effects of Britain’s imperial and colonial past on both countries” (Jones 8). Along with original works Gupta has also produced a sizeable body of adaptations and her commitment to translating cultures has led to numerous rewritings for the stage that have opened an ongoing dialogue on the part of the playwright with both classic, canonical works in the English and European tradition (The Country Wife, Hobson’s Choice, A Doll’s House), as well as with contemporary works that have mapped out an increasingly multicultural Britain (Anita and Me, Red Dust Road, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian). Gupta’s work is marked by an acute awareness of the complexities of class, ethnicity, gender, religion, racialised hierarchies and socio-cultural barriers and divisions. By employing a critical transnational perspective, which is also apparent in her “portrayal of multicultural groups of youths, routinely including Asian, black, mixed-race and white characters” (Griffin 237), as, for example, in White Boy, Gupta explores controversial and taboo subjects not only among British, British Bengali and South Asian communities, but in global contexts (such as female sex tourism in Sugar Mummies), and she especially highlights the colonial and postcolonial connections and networks between Britain and India.

Introduction: Transnational Revision and Rewriting in Tanika Gupta’s Theatre / Schlote, Christiane; Buonanno, Giovanna. - In: JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY DRAMA IN ENGLISH. - ISSN 2195-0164. - 10:2(2022), pp. 261-265. [10.1515/jcde-2022-0020]

Introduction: Transnational Revision and Rewriting in Tanika Gupta’s Theatre

Christiane Schlote;Giovanna Buonanno
2022-01-01

Abstract

Tanika Gupta’s dramatic writing and theatrical practice is a rich oeuvre which spans across genres and media. This article argues that the main feature of her work are a critical transnational perspective in terms of her works’ local and global concerns, her consistent demand for decolonising British theatre and education and not least her distinctive humour and wit. She has been described as “our most versatile writer for stage, screen and radio”. Her career as a playwright spans more than twenty-five years and her plays have been regularly produced in major theatres across Britain since the 1990s. As a “British born Bengali” (Shaikh 2011) playwright, “inflected by her heritage, but not bound by it” (Sierz “Introduction” 15), Gupta has written numerous original plays tapping in multiple traditions and genres within English drama, while also engaging in her work with aspects of South Asian culture and history. While her political plays, such as, for example, Gladiator Games, were written as “openly political play[s]”, their politics “resonate far beyond the immediate reasons for its creation” (Sierz “Introduction” 9). Her historical plays engage with the legacy and the “lasting effects of Britain’s imperial and colonial past on both countries” (Jones 8). Along with original works Gupta has also produced a sizeable body of adaptations and her commitment to translating cultures has led to numerous rewritings for the stage that have opened an ongoing dialogue on the part of the playwright with both classic, canonical works in the English and European tradition (The Country Wife, Hobson’s Choice, A Doll’s House), as well as with contemporary works that have mapped out an increasingly multicultural Britain (Anita and Me, Red Dust Road, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian). Gupta’s work is marked by an acute awareness of the complexities of class, ethnicity, gender, religion, racialised hierarchies and socio-cultural barriers and divisions. By employing a critical transnational perspective, which is also apparent in her “portrayal of multicultural groups of youths, routinely including Asian, black, mixed-race and white characters” (Griffin 237), as, for example, in White Boy, Gupta explores controversial and taboo subjects not only among British, British Bengali and South Asian communities, but in global contexts (such as female sex tourism in Sugar Mummies), and she especially highlights the colonial and postcolonial connections and networks between Britain and India.
2022
25-nov-2022
10
2
261
265
Introduction: Transnational Revision and Rewriting in Tanika Gupta’s Theatre / Schlote, Christiane; Buonanno, Giovanna. - In: JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY DRAMA IN ENGLISH. - ISSN 2195-0164. - 10:2(2022), pp. 261-265. [10.1515/jcde-2022-0020]
Schlote, Christiane; Buonanno, Giovanna
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