New Theatre Quarterly

Research Article

Realism and Politics in Alienated Space: Trevor Griffiths's Plays of the 1970s in the Television Studio

Leah Panos

Abstract

The television studio play is often perceived as a somewhat compromised, problematic mode in which spatial and technological constraints inhibit the signifying and aesthetic capacity of dramatic texts. Leah Panos examines the function of the studio in the 1970s television dramas of socialist playwright Trevor Griffiths, and argues that the established verbal and visual conventions of the studio play, in its confined and ‘alienated’ space, connect with and reinforce various aspects of Griffiths's particular approach and agenda. As well as suggesting ways in which the idealist, theoretical focus of the intellectual New Left is reflexively replicated within the studio, Panos explores how the ‘intimate’ visual language of the television studio allows Griffiths to create a ‘humanized’ Marxist discourse through which he examines dialectically his dramatic characters' experiences, ideas, morality, and political objectives. Leah Panos recently completed her doctoral thesis, ‘Dramatizing New Left Contradictions: Television Texts of Ken Loach, Jim Allen, and Trevor Griffiths’, at the University of Reading and is now a Postdoctoral Researcher on the AHRC funded project, ‘Spaces of Television: Production, Site and Style’, which runs from July 2010 to March 2014.