The Wye Plays (Book)

The Back of Beyond and The Battle of the Crows

A first volume of plays by a startlingly ambitious and inventive dramatist.

The Back of Beyond takes, as its starting point, the route of a sequel to King Lear, in which the surviving Shakespearean characters set out on an odyssey through a perilous, blasted landscape, and encounter new agents of cruelty, desire and magic. Wildly humorous and fiercely shocking, the play charts a series of remorseless exposures, interrogating the idealisms and brutal repressions that have informed Anglo-Welsh relations whilst subverting Shakespearean motifs; tragically humorous poetic language and nightmarish visual imagery contribute to the sense of a land where the signposts have been smashed.

A sequel to The Back of Beyond, The Battle of the Crows extends and concludes the stories of three characters - a maverick witch, a renegade knight, and an abuse victim made empress - in a harrowing and humorous exploration of border warfare, witchcraft, massacre, bitchery, hilarity and heartbreak. The Battle of the Crows is partly a dramatic speculation about desire as magic, partly a sad reckless laugh at internecine hostilities and the passionate and disastrous transformations which spring up in the face of Death itself.

Series: Playtext

Edition

David Ian Rabey is Professor of Drama and Subject Leader of Theatre Studies at The University of Wales, Aberystwyth.
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