“This Bloomin’ Country’s a Fraud”: Musical Commodification and Westward Expansion in Sharon Pollock’s Walsh


Yazıcıoğlu S.

Pamukkale Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, no.39, pp.293-306, 2020 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

Abstract

Canadian playwright Sharon Pollock’s Walsh (1973) revisits the aftermath of the Battle of Little Big Horn (1876) when Sitting Bull led the Sioux to cross the Canadian border for seeking refuge, befriended Major John Walsh of the North West Mounted Police and yet was forced to surrender to the American forces despite diplomatic exchanges. Since the play roughly coincides with the centennial celebrations in Canada and marks a renewed interest in Canadian drama for national topics, it has been studied in terms of its critical perspective to official historiography and its metadramatic treatment of the mentioned historical events. However, less scholarly attention has been spared to the use of songs in the play. Prioritizing the song form in its musical structure, Walsh integrates the history of westward expansion with the emerging economy and technology of music, resulting in the commodification of music at the turn of the twentieth century.