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Journal Articles Contemporary Theatre Review Year : 2014

Martin Crimp’s Nomadic Voices


A number of Martin Crimp's plays give preference to voice over eyesight (thea in Greek). The spectator is offered a theatre of language in which the characters constitute themselves as narrators more than as actors. In The Treatment (1993), Attempts on her Life (1997) or the Fewer Emergencies trilogy (2005), however, words circulate between the different speakers who constantly try to appropriate the voice of the other: Anne's words are taken over by the film producers, the main 'absence' of character' 1 in Attempts on her Life is recomposed by her friends' or parents' words, the scenarios of the trilogy are chorally remembered. This circulation of words and of voices blurs the contours of the self. Further, I will argue here that Crimp plays with these remembering, often ventriloquist voices, and that it is essentially through putting the voice at a good distance from the self that he achieves the expression of selfhood. De-centred, circulating, nomadic voices become the only place capable of sounding the subject. This movement that entrusts the expression of the subject to an exteriority intensifies steadily from The Treatment to Written on Skin (2012). ((Disengaged voices)) Martin Crimp started writing both for the stage and for the radio (Four Attempted Acts [1984], Definitely the Bahamas [1987]), and far from being insignificant, this fact brings forth the early interest that he had in voice as the place of corporeity. He pushed this interest to its most radical manifestation when he started to write for the lyrical stage and collaborated with composer George Benjamin on Into the Little Hill (2006) and Written on Skin (2012), as we


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hal-03377697 , version 1 (14-10-2021)



Elisabeth Angel-Perez. Martin Crimp’s Nomadic Voices. Contemporary Theatre Review, 2014, 24 (3), pp.353-362. ⟨10.1080/10486801.2014.921054⟩. ⟨hal-03377697⟩
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