Reappropriating the Pace-Egging tradition: Ewan MacColl’s St George and the Dragon
Best known as a folk singer, Ewan MacColl wrote upwards of twenty plays; some of his most effective works are his adaptation plays, contemporary dramatic works using canonical playtexts as catalysts. In 1964–65 MacColl wrote a modernized version of the Lancastrian Pace-Egging Play, St. George and the Dragon. Taking this indigenous theatrical form, often associated with the industrial rather than rural landscape, MacColl wrote a play for and about the people, in a specific tradition of urban folk drama. By changing and modifying the traditional play, including new characters, and altering plot, the playwright was able to create a piece that specifically explores some of the key aspects of twentieth-century society. Furthermore, MacColl weaves in a highly politicized narrative thread that culminates in a call for revolutionary change. This unpublished play is a prime example of MacColl's “vandalism” of established forms. This article examines the play, presenting it as a key example of MacColl's experimental aesthetic, a way of appropriating techniques and narrative methods for a new audience, a new society, and a new political objective.
Citation : Warden, C. (2010) Reappropriating the pace-egging tradition: Ewan MacColl's St George and the Dragon. Modern Drama, 53 (2), pp. 232-243
Research Group : Performance Research Group
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Arts