Networks of Resistance: Connecting Stage, Street and Social Media in Tony Kushner’s Only We Who Guard The Mystery Shall Be Unhappy

Lara Stevens


On 15 and 16 February 2003, an estimated 10 million people in over 800 cities worldwide marched to protest against the second Iraq War (Hil 2008: 29). This collective of bodies made up the largest global anti-war protest in history, clearly demonstrating the lack of popular support for the war and a return to 1960s modes of political resistance. Yet, unlike the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Western governments ignored the performing bodies of the 2003 anti-war demonstrators. The protests had little or no effect in stalling or preventing the American-led ‘Coalition of the Willing’ from embarking on the war and the anti-war resistance movements were described as impotent and atrophied (Chomsky 2004; Roy 2004; Butler 2006).

The relationship between theatre, performance, politics and activism continues to trouble scholars who problematise the connection between performance and political efficacy (Bishop 2012; Spencer 2012; Shepard 2010; Butler and Athenasiou 2013).

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