Dec 152016

Gladstone, Disraeli

It has often been said that “politics is theatre.” That might explain why many would call politics the theatre of the absurd. But all theatrics aside, theatre in politics simply can’t be pushed aside. The play’s the thing.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from the recent US election, it is that “all the world’s a stage,” and nationalism sets that stage for political theatre. Since most have never experienced good political theatre in recent times, it’s not surprising that, when encountered, few understand the plot – especially those who falsely believe they are writing the script. It’s a lesson that seems to have been forgotten, if ever learned.

Imagine if television had existed during the times of William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli (1800s Britain); would it have been censored by political correctness?

From Gladstone’s narrow escape from being tossed to his potential death out the window of Britain’s new parliament buildings, to Disraeli’s being taunted with pork on a stick while giving his electoral speeches, British politics of the era was pure drama. By comparison, Donald and Hillary’s 21st-century antics would have attracted little more attention than the mildly feuding couple next door.

Great political theatre has all but gone underground, to be appreciated and understood only among the “commoners.” After all, they’re the ones paying the cost of admission to that theatre, whether they watch the play or not. It’s a bit of a tragedy that it has taken so long for it to re-surface, since great political theatre is exactly what engages the democratic masses to participate in the voting process.

To help us understand the plots behind some of the great political plays of history, we are once again joined by Western University’s Associate Professor of Political Science, Salim Mansur, whose guide to political theatre makes for great entertainment itself.

Join us for a light – and enlightening – open discussion about political theatrics, nationalism, and historical political hatreds of which few are aware. With the recent theatrical release that was the US election, history’s most entertaining political plays may well be reprised for future performances.

After having been kept under wraps for far too long, at least we can all thank Hillary and Donald for having released great political theatre from its chains of political correctness. Who would ever has guessed that, together on the stage of political theatre, they, of all people, would have done something that’s Just Right?

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