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Playing For TimeStories of Lost Children, Ghosts and the Endangered Present in Contemporary Theatre$
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Geraldine Cousin

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780719061974

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719061974.001.0001

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Past present: dramatisations of ‘return’

Past present: dramatisations of ‘return’

(p.9) 2 Past present: dramatisations of ‘return’
Playing For Time

Geraldine Cousin

Manchester University Press

This chapter focuses primarily on four of Priestley's ‘time plays’, each of which is structured either around the return of a character or a reversal to a previous point in the action. Dangerous Corner and An Inspector Calls are also heavily indebted to a popular narrative form that relies on an investigation of the past in order to bring the present into clearer focus. Time and the Conways and Eden End are meditations on the nature of loss, but they also contain seeds of hope. The chapter ends by discussing J. M. Barrie's Mary Rose, which is haunted even more obviously than Eden End by the lost generation of the First World War. Loss in Mary Rose is eventually succeeded by redemption, but the ghostly protagonist can find release only by embracing her dead state.

Keywords:   time plays, Mary Rose, Eden End, Priestley's plays, Time and the Conways, ghostly protagonist, Dangerous Corner

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