Restoration Theatre and Crisis is a seminal study of the drama of the Restoration, in particular that of the Popish Plot and Exclusion Crisis. This was a time of unprecedented political partisanship in the theatre. This book cosniders all the known plays of this period, including works by Dryden and Behn, in their historical context. It examines the complex ways in which the drama both reflected and intervened in the political process, at a time when the crisis fractured an already fragile post-interregnum consensus, and modern party political methods first began to develop. Susan Owen discusses the ways in which Tory and Whig playwrights engaged in dramatic dialogue, deliberately commenting on and revising each other's themes and topics. The book also explores the arena of sexual politics, examining the political significance of themes such as disharmony in the family, and the importance of rape as a dramatic signifier of monstrosity associated with rebellion by the Tories and tyranny and popery by the Whigs.
Restoration Theatre and Crisis considers the use of sexuality as a political discourse, and ways in which ideas about libertinism and constructions of masculinity and femininity intersect with political concerns in the drama. Thus the book bridges the gap between 'gender-blind' political accounts and studies which have focused on gender themes in the drama in isolation from party politics.