Ugliness and Beauty: the politics of landscape in Walter Greenwood's Love on the Dole.
The multi-spatial landscape of the North-West of England (Manchester–Salford and the surrounding area) provides the setting for Walter Greenwood's 1934 play Love on the Dole. Both the urban industrialized cityscape and the rural countryside that surrounds it are vital framing devices for the narrative – these spaces not simply acting as backdrops but taking on character roles. In this article Claire Warden reads the play's presentation of the North through the concept of landscape theatre, on the one hand, and Raymond Williams's city–country dialogism on the other, claiming that Love on the Dole is imbued with the revolutionary possibility that defines the very landscape in which it is set. From claustrophobic working-class kitchen to the open fields of Derbyshire, Love on the Dole has a sense of spatial ambition in which Greenwood regards all landscapes as tainted by the industrial world while maintaining their capacity to function independently. Ugliness and beauty, capitalist hegemony and socialistic hopefulness reside simultaneously in this important under-researched example of twentieth-century British theatre, thereby reflecting the ambivalent, shifting landscape of the North and producing a play that cannot be easily defined artistically or politically.
Citation : Warden, Claire (2013) Ugliness and beauty: the politics of landscape in Walter Greenwood's 'Love on the Dole'. New Theatre Quarterly, 29 (1). pp. 35-47
ISSN : 0266-464X
Research Group : Performance Research Group
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Arts