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The Wye Plays
The Back of Beyond and The Battle of the Crows
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Price £20, $28.50
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ISBN 9781841501154
Paperback 128 pages

Published January 2004
Imprint: Intellect
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Books by David Ian Rabey
Books in Performing Arts
Other books in this series
Chapter Titles     |      Reviews     |      Comments

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.

Part of the Playtext series
Chapter titles
'On Being a Shakespearian Dramatist: An Approach to The Back of Beyond' - Page 3
David Ian Rabey
'The Back of Beyond' - Page 17
David Ian Rabey
'Hatched in Emptiness, Over Emptiness, But Flying: An Introduction to The Battle of the Crows' - Page 77
David Ian Rabey
'The Battle of the Crows' - Page 83
David Ian Rabey
'Afterword: Grace and Havoc: Shape-Shifting and the Imaginative Landscape of The Wye Plays' - Page 145
Mick Mangan
Reviews
'Fierce, muscular texts in the spirit of Artaud and John Clare.' – Iain Sinclair

'The plays are complemented by Rabey's enlightening essay "On being A Shakespearian dramatist" and a short but incisive "Afterword" by Mick Mangan. The plays were written to be performed live in a theatre [...] but relishing the "Wye Plays" as written texts has considerable rewards.' – Richard J. Hand, CYFRWNG MEDIA WALES JOURNAL (Vol. 2, 2005)

'Praise for THE BACK OF BEYOND: This is large-scale epic drama that sets out to subvert the grand literary tradition as a group of sort-of Shakespearean characters roam around discovering imperialism in a cruel land ... I found myself intrigued by the ambition of the project, mesmerised by the richness of the language and impressed by the energy ... Aberystwyth company Lurking Truth has taken on a mammoth task with evangelical enthusiasm.' – David Adams, THE WESTERN MAIL

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