The Hospital at the Time of the Revolution

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DOI: 10.5040/9781784602345.10000028
Scenes: 10. Roles: Male (5) , Female (2) , Neutral (0)

Caryl Churchill's short play The Hospital at the Time of the Revolution is based on Frantz Fanon's classic analysis of colonialism and decolonization, The Wretched of the Earth (Les Damnés de la terre). It was written as a radio play in the early 1970s, but not performed until March 2013, when it received its world premiere at the Finborough Theatre, London.

The play is set in the hospital at Blida-Joinville, Algeria, in about 1956, during the country's struggle for independence from French colonial rule. Frantz Fanon is head of the psychiatric department at the hospital, treating both oppressed and oppressor. A civil servant presents his psychologically disturbed daughter to the hospital for assessment and insists on her admittance. An inspector demands treatment for his helpless violence against his own family. And three in-patient revolutionaries are delusional and paranoid.

According to an author's note in the published text, Caryl Churchill: Shorts (Nick Hern Books, 1990), the play is based on Chapter 5 of Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, and also 'owes a lot to the writings of R.D. Laing'.

The Finborough Theatre premiere was directed by James Russell and designed by Rachel Stone. The cast was Giovanni Bienne, Bejamin Cawley, Ruth Lass, Miles Mitchell, Ruth Pickett, Kenneth Price, Tim Pritchett, Will Rastall and Simon Yadoo.

From Caryl Churchill: Shorts

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Nick Hern Books

Caryl Churchill

ISBN: 9781854590855

Series: NHB Modern Plays

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