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Recipe For REVOLT: “In The Republic of Happiness” by Martin Crimp

In The Republic of Happiness, The Royal Court Theatre 2012. (Photo credit: Johan Persson)

In anticipation of REVOLT. SHE SAID. REVOLT AGAIN., Soho Rep. asked playwright Alice Birch about art pieces that inspired her play. Alice came back to us with a formidable list of plays, photography, feminist essays, and poetry that have all been an influence on this piece of writing.

In a series we are calling “Recipes for REVOLT”, we will be delving a bit deeper into these art pieces to give you a sense of where this extraordinary play sprung.

The British playwright Martin Crimp’s play In The Republic of Happiness premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2012. The play which is set during a Christmas dinner shows up our contemporary obsession with technology and the western world’s focus on the Self. Many of these themes find their way into Alice Birch’s play.

Here are what some reviewers said about the play at the time of its original production in 2012:

“Crimp tears into the contemporary obsession with individualism. He’s venomous and occasionally very funny about narcissism, our short memories and the culture of therapy (both the retail and psychiatric varieties). He also skewers metropolitan smugness, the cut-and-paste aesthetics fostered by desktop technology and the modern historical ignorance that feels like a kind of collective dementia. Less overt is his interest in what might be called downward mobility — a preoccupation with being grubbier than our forebears.” – Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

“No one could accuse the Royal Court of offering us a piece of feelgood escapism for Christmas. Instead, they have come up with a challenging new 110-minute play from Martin Crimp that mordantly satirises our self-obsession and delusional dreams and adopts the experimental techniques of his 1997 play Attempts on Her Life. It’s tough stuff, but not without its rewards.” – Michael Billington, The Guardian [Soho Rep. gave Attempts on Her Life  its U.S. premiere in 2002 in a production directed by Steve Cosson. – Ed.]

Do you see this play’s influence on Revolt?

IN THE REPUBLIC OF HAPPINESS by Martin Crimp, Directed by Dominic Cooke. The Royal Court Theatre, 2012. (Photo Credit: Johan Persson)
IN THE REPUBLIC OF HAPPINESS by Martin Crimp, Directed by Dominic Cooke. The Royal Court Theatre, 2012. (Photo Credit: Johan Persson)

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