Shopping and Fucking


Shopping and Fucking

Mark Ravenhill's first full-length play, "Shopping and Fucking" (sometimes billed as "Shopping and F**king"), was a co-production by Out of Joint and the Royal Court Theatre. It was performed in 1996 at the Royal Court Upstairs (located temporarily at the Ambassadors Theatre in London's West End), before embarking on its national and international tour.

When first produced, "Shopping and Fucking" received mixed reviews. Some were clearly shocked by the play's sexually-violent content, which includes the pseudo-rape of an underage male by other males. Other critics were drawn to the play's black humour, and its mixture of Sadean and Marxist philosophies. Whatever one's opinion of "Shopping and Fucking", it is, along with the late Sarah Kane's "Blasted", at the cutting edge of British In-yer-face theatre of the 1990s.

Central themes

The sexual violence of "Shopping and Fucking" explores what is possible if consumerism supersedes all other moral codes. To this effect everything, included sex, violence and drugs, is reduced to a mere transaction in an age where shopping centres are the new cathedrals of Western consumerism. Such sadistic violence recalls the "aesthetic" of the Marquis de Sade, wherein, in the absence of religion, there are no moral absolutes. The hyper-consumerist tone of the play echoes the "Capitalisme sauvage" of Thatcherist ideology. [See Capitalisme sauvage on the French Wikipedia fr icon] Indeed, three of the protagonists (Mark, Robbie, and Lulu) would have been teenagers during Margaret Thatcher's stretch as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The characters' names (Mark, Robbie, Gary, and Lulu) are taken from the Manchester, England, pop boy band Take That (1990-96; 2006- ) and from the female singer Lulu who collaborated with them on their hit single Relight My Fire.

Aspects of consumerism and sexuality rampant in popular culture recur throughout the play: drugs, shoplifting, phone sex, prostitution, anal sex, and oral sex in the London department store Harvey Nichols.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.outofjoint.co.uk/prods/s_and_f.html Archived production: Shopping and Fucking] at Out of Joint.
* [http://www.barbican.org.uk/panto/cast-and-team/mark-ravenhill Mark Ravenhill] at the website of the Barbican Theatre, London. (Hyperlinked biography.)
* [http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/?p=auth258 Mark Ravenhill] at the website of the British Arts Council. Author's page, incl. "Critical Perspective." (Compiled and written by Dr. Peter Buse, 2003.)
* [http://www.inyerface-theatre.com/archive8.html#a Mark Ravenhill] at the website of [http://www.inyerface-theatre.com/main.html In-Yer-Face Theatre] . (Hyperlinked biography and criticism.)
* [http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/ravenhill10/ Ravenhill 10] . The Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing. Goldsmith's College, University of London. November 11-November 12, 2006. (Symposium marking the 10th anniversary of the first production of "Shopping and Fucking", by Mark Ravenhill.)


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