The Cambridge Companion to American Women Playwrights (Cambridge Companions to Literature)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
This volume addresses the work of women playwrights throughout the history of the American theater, from the early pioneers to contemporary feminists. Each chapter introduces the reader to the work of one or more playwrights, covering significant writers such as Rachel Crothers, Susan Glaspell, Lillian Hellman, Sophie Treadwell, Lorraine Hansberry, Alice Childress, Megan Terry, Ntozake Shange, Adrienne Kennedy, Wendy Wasserstein, Marsha Norman, Beth Henley and Maria Irene Fornes, in the context of topics such as early comedy and melodrama, feminism and realism, the Harlem Renaissance and feminism.
Man’s World takes place primarily in the apartment of Frank Ware, a female novelist and social reform worker who lives with her small adopted son, Kiddie. While Frank’s drawing room is conventionally appointed and focused on the domestic, it certainly offers a counterpoint to the male-dominated living spaces inhabited by Gale’s Miss Lulu Bett. For Frank’s parlor is located in a rooming house occupied by an assortment of struggling artists, musicians, and writers, male and female, who each occupy
including Ed Wills, is that these types will appear somewhat dehumanized and easily manipulable rather than symbolically significant. Ed Wills wants to be the modernist god-like creator but despondently states: “The People . . . Oh, I got so tired looking at them – on farms, in towns, in cities. They’re like toys that you wind up and they’ll run awhile. They don’t want to be expressed” (48). Two women, reminiscent of the farm wives in Trifles, belie Ed’s despair and his condescending attitude
using sounds, monologues, lighting, and fragmentary dialogue to suggest rather than to define the action for the audience. The other noteworthy passage in Treadwell’s unpublished stage directions pertains to her belief that this approach might have its greatest effect upon the female spectator. In her influential study, Feminism and Theatre, Sue-Ellen Case discusses the possibility as to whether or not a dramatic form exists which particularly expresses female sensibility or experience.
rituals and beliefs of the black community in which he works. When the play was published in Plays and Pageants From the Life of the Negro (1930), editor and black theatre pioneer Willis Richardson referred to Miller as one of the “most promising” playwrights. Miller would later refer to this play as her “most popular” and remembered the many $5 royalty checks that came in from Little Theatre groups all over the country.4 Miller’s historical plays were an especially significant contribution to
an atomic age, while Senator Joe McCarthy continued his hunt for communists and homosexuals at home. The lifestyle of American families was changing rapidly as whites fled the cities and settled into new suburban housing developments, made affordable by the GI Bill and the adaptation of the assembly line to housing construction, while blacks were kept out to a large degree. As women returned to their kitchens, the pressure increased for them to conform to traditional family expectations – those