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“Contempt of Flesh”: Adventures in the Uncanny Valley—Stacey Gregg’s Override

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This chapter examines Stacey Gregg’s “futuristic” play, Override, in terms of its inherent contradictions. For instance, Gregg stipulates in the opening stage directions that “we could be in the 1960s or 1990s”, even though the topics explored are clearly extrapolations from the most recent, unsettling, high-tech developments. Such determined indeterminism (she writes of the setting as “unplaceable”) is set against the tenor of the themes in the work: bio-enhancement and augmentation, the role of cyborgs in our societies and in our families, and even the looming threat (promise?) of posthumanism. Reacting against the expectations and registers of science fiction, Gregg decides to opt for props that speak of our domestic life now (toasters, window-boxes) and to create a character set-up redolent of the “kitchen-sink drama”, were it not for discussions and issues that would seem more at home in the work of Philip K. Dick. This contrariety lies at the heart of a piece which strives to be simultaneously contemporary and visionary.

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  1. 1., published 6 October 2013, accessed 15 June 2017.

  2. 2.

    Again--Gregg is not straying far from contemporary reality. The first commercially-available sex-bot is being marketed later this year (2017) by a firm in California, at over $11,000. Her name is “Harmony.”

  3. 3.

    Stacey Gregg, Override (London: Nick Hern Books, 2013), 29.

  4. 4.

    Ibid., 36.

  5. 5.

    Ibid., 40.

  6. 6.


  7. 7.

    Ibid., 16.

  8. 8.

    Ibid., 9.

  9. 9.

    Ibid., 23.

  10. 10.

    Ibid., 27.

  11. 11.

    Ibid., 33.

  12. 12.

    Ibid., 30.

  13. 13.

    Peter Crawley, “Stacey Gregg on Gender, Identity and the Theatre’s ‘Gutting Lack of Women’,” The Irish Times, 12 November 2015,

  14. 14.

    Gregg, Override, 26.

  15. 15.

    Ibid., 44.

  16. 16.

    Ibid., 26.

  17. 17.


  18. 18.


  19. 19.


  20. 20.

    Ibid., 60.

  21. 21.

    Ibid., 35.

  22. 22.

    Ibid., 66.


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Taggart, A. (2018). “Contempt of Flesh”: Adventures in the Uncanny Valley—Stacey Gregg’s Override. In: Jordan, E., Weitz, E. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

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