A Sourcebook on Feminist Theatre and Performance: On and by Carol Martin

By Carol Martin

This paintings is a distinct number of key articles on feminist theatre and function shape The Drama evaluate (TDR). Carol Martin juxtaposes idea and perform to supply an incredibly accomplished assessment of the advance of feminist theatre. This striking assortment contains key texts by way of theorists reminiscent of Elin Diamond, Peggy Phelan and Lynda Hart and interviews with practitioners together with Anna Deveare Smith and Robbie McCauley. It additionally comprises complete performances texts by means of of the main influential and debatable practiitioners of feminist theatre: Dress matches to Hire via Holly Hughes and The consistent kingdom of Desire via Karen Finley. A Sourcebook on Feminist Theatre and Performance is a necessary buy for college kids of theatre stories, functionality reviews and women's theatre.

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Yet questions about women’s participation in all aspects of theatre have become more insistent. As women with new self-awareness and enthusiasm try to use theatre to explore what it means to be a woman, they also look back in the hope of locating themselves in some female tradition that will help them understand their problems in the present as well as plan for the future. Despite the public life of theatre, we know very little about the role that women have played. It has not been easy to see a female network in the composite art of theatre or to find a sense of “we-consciousness,” as Simone de Beauvoir calls it, among actresses, playwrights, designers, directors, and producers.

Smith’s position in regard to her own authorship of the On the Road series is vexed, as she both is and is not the final arbiter of her texts’ meanings. 22 Martin reads Smith’s work through a tradition of community-based women’s performance art, but also remarks on Smith’s mediatization, as Fires was reproduced for broadcast on PBS, and her subsequent piece, Twilight: LA, 1992, was produced on Broadway. Broadway retains the vestiges of live theatre even as it strives to become more like film, but its commodification makes it more analogous to the objects of media culture, as Martin points out, moving the work further from the live and local community from which it sprang.

Perlgut relates that their group censored one of their early pieces called Saggy Breasts because it showed drawings of the breast. The group felt that the material was something which “men could guffaw at and ridicule instead of identify with…. ” Some of the women in the group also feel exposed in mixed audiences when they discuss lesbianism. The dream-plays of It’s All Right To Be a Woman Theatre, in which the members of the troupe act out the dreams of spectators, are limited strictly to the dreams of women.

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