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Into the Darkest Places: Pursuing Politics in the Plays of Phyllis Nagy

Morgan McKean, K S


K S Morgan McKean


In this article, I argue for the political relevance of the work of Phyllis Nagy not only to the 1990s – the decade in which the majority of her work premiered – but to current political, theoretical and theatrical debates. I consider the ways in which her plays were received by critics and how they sit outside popular characterisations of this period of new writing in British theatre. Through the hyperreal landscape Nagy creates in The Strip (1995), Nagy interrogates ideas of fate through an examination of gambling and greed. These ideas and images resonate with those surrounding the current economic crisis, and the inequalities apparent during the 2011 London Riots. Further, the transnational locations and identities in the play interrogate contemporary repositioning of self and place. Weldon Rising (1992), set in a city that is literally melting, resonates not only with the ‘melting pot’ ideas of migration and community but anticipates current staging of environmental disaster caused by failures of responsibility; a recurrent theme in Nagy’s work. The current European crisis similarly resonates with and is interrogated within, Never Land (1998), and I examine the politics of this and her most recent play, The One, The Other (2010).


Morgan McKean, K. S. (2014). Into the Darkest Places: Pursuing Politics in the Plays of Phyllis Nagy. Contemporary Theatre Review, 24(1), 66-81.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 21, 2013
Publication Date Mar 5, 2014
Deposit Date May 8, 2019
Journal Contemporary Theatre Review
Print ISSN 1048-6801
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 1
Pages 66-81
Public URL
Publisher URL