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Punk rock as popular theatre

By Oliver Double

Abstract

Punk rock performance consciously draws on popular theatre forms like music hall and\ud stand-up comedy, as exemplified by the occasion when Max Wall appeared with Ian Dury\ud at the Hammersmith Odeon. Oliver Double traces the historical and stylistic connections\ud between punk, music hall and stand-up, and argues that punk shows can be considered a\ud form of popular theatre in their own right. He examines a wide range of punk bands and\ud performers- including Sex Pistols, Iggy Pop, Devo, Spizz, The Ramones, The Clash, and\ud Dead Kennedys- and considers how they use costume, staging, persona,\ud characterisation, and audience-performer relationships, arguing that these are as\ud important and carefully considered as the music they play. Art movements like Dada and\ud Futurism were important influences on the early punk scene, and Double shows how, as\ud with early 20th Century cabaret, punk performance manages to include avant garde\ud elements within popular theatre forms. Oliver Double started his career performing a\ud comedy act alongside anarchist punk bands in Exeter, going on to spend ten years on the\ud alternative comedy circuit. Currently, he lectures in Drama at the University of Kent, and\ud he is the author of Stand-Up! On Being a Comedian (Methuen, 1997) and Getting the\ud Joke: The Inner Workings of Stand-Up Comedy (Methuen, 2005)

Topics: N1, NX, PN2000
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:kar.kent.ac.uk:1182

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