Timberlake Wertenbaker’s play Our Country’s Good (1988), as an adaptation of Thomas Keneally’s novel The Playmaker (1987), traces how a group of convicts, who are isolated in an eighteenth-century Australian penal colony, work together to produce George Farquhar’s The Recruiting Officer in celebration of the birthday of King George III. Arguably, Our Country’s Good is characterized by a kind of metatheatrical minorization of the major, a subtraction of the official State representatives, such as history, power structure, society, language, and text; the play is characterized by a polemicizing the sense of other spaces, and a form of threshold traversing that is rendered possible in the context of translation/adaptation and dramatic text/performance text in the theatre. This paper aims to analyze Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good in terms of Gilles Deleuze’s and Félix Guattari’s theories—such as the concepts of deterritorialization, reterritorialization, lines of flight, and minor theatre—in order to explore how the dispossessed convicts traverse the threshold of “becoming other” via the historicized immigration of transportation, which opens up lines of flight and generates the unceasing mapping of a new life. I would like to suggest that Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good presents a subtle counterpoint between the major theatre and the minor theatre: whereas a major theatre seeks to represent and to reproduce the power structure of the dominant state apparatus, the minor theatre operates by disseminating, varying, subverting the structures of the state and major theatre. Such a contrapuntal agon finally leads to the celebration of the minor theatre, a theatre that works to highlight the recurrence of difference, and the recurrence of theatrical performance that is not a repetition of the same, but a series of variations.
KEY WORDS: Timberlake Wertenbaker, Our Country’s Good, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, deterritorialization/reterritorialization, the minor theatre
渥坦貝克(Timberlake Wertenbaker)之《吾國吾民》(Our Country’s Good, 1988)改編自肯尼利(Thomas Keneally)之《造 戲者》(The Playmaker, 1987),敘述十八世紀時一群流放至 澳洲流刑地的英國罪犯,如何因應時局,在此窮山惡水的 天涯流刑異域編排法夸爾(George Farquhar)之《招募官》(The Recruiting Officer)以慶祝英王喬治三世之壽辰。本文以為 《吾國吾民》旨在挪用轉化多數/主流劇場之元素,藉以對抗 國家機器之表表徵,舉凡歷史、權力結構、語言、或文 本。本文旨在透過德勒茲(Gilles Deleuze)與瓜達希(Félix Guattari)之理論──如脫離疆界(deterritorialization)、再建 疆界(reterritorialization)、少數劇場(minor theatre)、逃逸路 線(lines of fligh)──俾以彰顯這些顛沛流離、人權尊嚴蕩 然無存的罪犯們如何透過罪犯少數劇場之機制,得以跨越 藩籬,「蛻化」而成「他者」,將原本是剝奪身份家國認同 之流放,轉變而成聚集異質流量、再創新機的逃逸路線。 《吾國吾民》饒富多數劇場與少數劇場之對位角力,其中所 彰顯的少數劇場展演,絕非一味的因襲主流文化之情節、 語言、或文本,而是透過一系列的差異性的重覆,藉以呈 現連續之消解與變異。