Shifting from Post-Truth to Truth in Jonathan Lichtenstein’s The Pull of Negative Gravity


RumeliDE Dil ve Edebiyat Araştırmaları Dergisi, no.Ö13, pp.1279-1290, 2023 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier


The concept of post-truth, popularised especially in 2016, exerts its influence across various areas from everyday life to diplomatic relations. Although its use and examination have notably increased in the last decade, the concept was used in the early years of the twenty-first century. For instance, during the 2003 Iraq War, both politicians and the ordinary public as well used this concept and produced both pro-war and anti-war post-truth discourses. Additionally, playwrights have represented post-truth discourses in their plays, both challenging prevailing political discourses and conveying their own messages through theatrical productions. One of these works, which scrutinise the post-truth discourses regarding the Iraq War, is Jonathan Lichtenstein’s play The Pull of Negative Gravity staged at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh in 2004 and published by Nick Hern Books in the same year. The play deals with the financial, familial and psychological difficulties of a Welsh farming family who sends one of their members to the Iraq War. The soldier’s experience of war and military service is glorified through post-truth narratives prior to his return from Iraq. However, upon his paralysed return from the war, the family members are compelled to face the undeniable realities, and all those positive discourses are replaced by factual truths. Thus, the play conveys to its audience/reader the message that emotionally-charged post- truth imaginations can be challenged through visible and objective realities. Considering such. Considering such viewpoints, the objective of this article is to examine both how Lichtenstein’s play unveils the post-truth discourses in the society concerning the Iraq War, and the strategy it follows to contend with such discourses.