Red Sun and Merlin Unchained
Red Sun and Merlin Unchained are the most recent original stage works by one of the most accomplished yet neglected dramatists of our time. Red Sun is a two-hander, tightly tethered within the classical unities of theme and space and the span of a single day. Merlin Unchained is an explosive, multitudinous epic, crossing continents and centuries and passing between worlds. Yet though technically so different, both works speak with the same distinctive voice, offering an exhilarating—and sometimes disturbing— challenge to the cultural and political perceptions of the contemporary audience, and exploring alien worlds that, alarmingly, begin to become recognizable as our own.
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This is a nicely produced and presented edition of two of David Rudkin's later plays, accompanied by several incisive critical essays, which do much to help the reader to make sense of Rudkin's unique theatrical aesthetics and politics. The plays' territory is that of the explosive transformation and renewal of the mythic.dimension within contemporary culture; they are related to but bolder than his earlier work such as 'The Sons of Light' (1965) and 'Artemis 81' (1981). Rudkin shows he is equally bold whether he is reworking the story of the Golem/ Frankenstein in a colonial context in Red Sun or creating new possibilities for the old Arthurian tales in Merlin Unchained. As Karoline Gritzner says in her essay 'Red Sun and the promise of myth' his work is important because it aims for nothing less than a poetic, secular resacralization of our world.