Clare Finburgh's thorough and engaging book asks how theatre has responded to the use of theatrical spectacle by those who wage war and/or manage its perceptions, and shows the way in which post-9/11 British theatre has exposed how battle, war, torture, and suffering are both presented and viewed as spectacle. Finburgh analyzes twelve productions, all staged in London since the new millennium, which consider the psychological, political, personal, and ethical consequences of modern warfare. The book will prove indispensable to theatre and performance studies scholars investigating combat and suffering on the twenty-first-century stage.

For Finburgh, plays that aim to address the spectacle of modern war are most successful when they admit that pain can never be “documented” onstage. She believes that theatre makers can be as keen and perceptive as political scientists or cultural theorists, and productions are most successful when they blend political acumen with theatricality, which she describes...

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