Between reality and mystery: food as fact and symbol in plays by Ibsen and Churchill.
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Pocock, Stephanie J.
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In Henrik Ibsen's and Caryl Churchill's plays, food is both fact and symbol, a reminder of both the shared physicality of the actors and spectators and of an equally powerful human desire for symbolic significance. This thesis examines the depictions of both facets of human consumption in Ibsen's A Doll House and The Wild Duck and Churchill's Light Shining in Buckinghamshire. By emphasizing the physical hunger and subsequent fulfillment of their characters, the playwrights draw audience and actors together in a community based on the recognition of shared human needs and experiences. Simultaneously, by exploring the variety of symbolic understandings that give those experiences meaning, they create unpredictability, individuality, and creativity. Through this balance, Ibsen and Churchill demonstrate the potential of theatre to construct a site where communities of actors and spectators can continually re-examine the dynamic space between reality and mystery.