Framing war, staging precarity: Caryl Churchill's seven jewish children and the spectres of vulnerability

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Abstract

This article offers a reading of Caryl Churchill's short, urgent, and controversial piece, Seven Jewish Children (Royal Court Theatre, 2009) in the light of Judith Butler's thinking about precarity and vulnerability. Butler explores the ways in which apprehending precarity and vulnerability, and an engagement with the ways in which normative frames of discourse can be called into question or brought into critical contact with one another, can provide ways of engaging differently with contemporary war and politics. These arguments relate directly to the strategies which Churchill uses in Seven Jewish Children, which was written as a response to the ongoing conflict in the occupied Palestinian Territories. This article discusses the ways in which Churchill's play creates a profoundly uneasy version of precarity through a set of dramaturgical strategies, including the mobilised absence of a set of imagined children, which frame the history of and discourse around the conflict in relation to an extremely present and immediate sense of violence and unrecognisability. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-367
Number of pages10
JournalContemporary Theatre Review
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013

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