358:394 Theater and Drama by Women

01  MW7   CAC   18088  DIAMOND  MU-208

This course will explore the vital, often controversial, art of women dramatists from the late nineteenth to the present. Because writing for public consumption carried the taint of prurience, women playwrights addressed not only their culture’s gender blindness (and the linked issues of sexuality, identity, emotion, and desire), but also the ideological nature of representation itself. In other words, women playwrights, especially during the great fluorescence of theatrical experimentation after the 1960s, were often formally, as well as thematically, innovative. We will investigate their techniques of image production, through staging, sound, and devices like cross-dressing, within changing social and theatrical contexts. Playwrights may include Elizabeth Robins, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Susan Glaspell, Zora Neale Hurston, Gertrude Stein, Adrienne Kennedy, Suzan-Lori Parks, Caryl Churchill, and Simone Benmussa and performance artists Deb Margolin, Robbie McCauley, and Karen Finley. We will also read key texts that women playwrights were necessarily in dialogue with: Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and Herne’s Margaret Fleming.

Writing: 2 papers, a final, and in-class presentations.