This issue of Contemporary Theatre Review: Interventions responds to the print journal’s focus on the work of British playwright Martin Crimp. For over thirty years Crimp’s formal and thematic interests have offered rich and challenging material for a range of audiences. Vicky Angelaki, guest editor of the special issue, has described Crimp’s practice as ‘helping to redefine dramatic writing in our time, as it consistently defie[s] categorizations according to extant traditions’.1 The material we have brought together here raises questions about the traditions and categorizations associated with Crimp’s writing. Contributions to this month’s Interventions consider not only Crimp’s work as a writer and collaborator but also the wider cultural, institutional and performance-making narratives that shape the field of theatre and performance.
This issue can be divided into two parts: the first addressing musicality as key to Crimp’s approach to performance making and the second challenging characterisations commonly associated with the culture of theatre within which Crimp’s work sits. In the first, Elisabeth Angel-Perez, whose discussion on the voices associated with the characters in Crimp’s plays appears in the latest print issue, reflects on the ways she engages ‘in a literary and musical activity’ as a translator of Crimp’s texts into French. This sits alongside video documentation of a discussion between Crimp and composer George Benjamin, hosted at King’s College London, about their collaboration on the opera Written on Skin.
We invited Aleks Sierz, a central figure in contemporary British theatre criticism, to engage with the idea of ‘New Writing’ and his response stages a playful account that challenges ideas of control in the act of playwriting. This intervention in the second part of the issue is paired with Dan Rebellato’s reflection on the work of the Royal Court, home to most of Crimp’s premieres since 1991. Rebellato troubles the divisions between different genealogies of the Court’s work through an investigation into the Court’s reputation for realism.
All of these contributions, in one way or another, reflect on the theme of collaboration, an ethos and practice that is central to the production and reception of Crimp’s work and contemporary theatre studies scholarship. We hope you enjoy this issue, our second since Interventions launched, and welcome your comments, contributions and feedback.
– Adam Alston, Johanna Linsley, Elyssa Livergant and Theron Schmidt, editors