_Ramah Droog_

Plate 2


Daniel J. O'Quinn, "Through Colonial Spectacles: the Irish Vizier and the Female-Knight in James Cobb's Ramah Droog" The Containment and Re-deployment of English India, edited by Daniel J. O'Quinn

Plate 2

John Inigo Richards, sketch of set design for Act I, scene 2 of James Cobb's Ramah Droog, produced at Covent Garden, November 1798. From the Enthoven Collection and by permission of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

November 2000

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O'Quinn, "Through Colonial Spectacles: the Irish Vizier and the Female-Knight in James Cobb's Ramah Droog"

James Cobb's popular comic opera Ramah Droog offers a useful site for examining the ways that representations of colonial space and of sexual deviance come together to generate a phantasm of a heteronormative imperial Britain. The set designs of Cobb's opera are explicitly linked to Thomas and William Daniells illustrations of Indian landscape and the essay demonstrates how key aspects of the visuality of the opera celebrate Cornwallis's victory over Tipu Sultan. This celebration is crucial for the play suggests a parallel between Cornwallis's defeat of Tipu and his later subjugation of Irish rebels in Wexford. These parallels are elaborated through the play's deployment of characters who are both ethnically and sexually cross-dressed. The presentation of a feminized Irish vizier and a masculinized Irish female knight constitutes a rupture in conventional theatrical representation and as such points toward the silent construction of heteronormative British imperial subjects at the opera's close.
November 2000

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