A Body that Matters: Tom Kilroy's Talbot's Box

Alexandra Poulain


This paper looks at Tom Kilroy’s play Talbot Box, and argues that it
resorts to the tropes of the Passion narrative, revisited by ex-centric mystic Matt Talbot, to expose the homogenising, normalising and exploitative efforts of the Catholic Church, a powerful institution which is shown to work in collusion with the forces of capitalism. Using a grotesque, often farcical dramaturgy, the play displays the joint attempts of ecclesiastical and temporal powers to appropriate Matt Talbot’s private performance of the Christian Passion for their own purposes, as well as the ways in which he resists instrumentalization by submitting himself to a radical form of bodily exposure. The play thus invents its own version of a theatre of cruelty in order to accommodate a mystical experience which lies beyond the reach of realistic representation. 

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/SIJIS-2239-3978-13800

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