Dramatic Revisions of Myths, Fairy Tales and Legends

Essays on Recent Plays

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About the Book

These new essays explore the ways in which contemporary dramatists have retold or otherwise made use of myths, fairy tales and legends from a variety of cultures, including Greek, West African, North American, Japanese, and various parts of Europe. The dramatists discussed range from well-established playwrights such as Tony Kushner, Caryl Churchill, and Timberlake Wertenbaker to new theatrical stars such as Sarah Ruhl and Tarell Alvin McCraney. The book contributes to the current discussion of adaptation theory by examining the different ways, and for what purposes, plays revise mythic stories and characters. The essays contribute to studies of literary uses of myth by focusing on how recent dramatists have used myths, fairy tales and legends to address contemporary concerns, especially changing representations of women and the politics of gender relations but also topics such as damage to the environment and political violence.

About the Author(s)

Verna A. Foster is a professor of English at Loyola University Chicago. She is the author of numerous essays on modern drama. She lives in Chicago.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Verna A. Foster
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 258
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6512-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0013-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Introduction

VERNA A. FOSTER      1

Hellenic Women Revisited: The Aesthetics of Mythic Revision in the Plays of Karen Hartman, Sarah Ruhl and Caridad Svich

MIRIAM CHIRICO      15

Greek Tragedy Transformed: A. R. Gurney and Charles Mee Rewrite Greek Drama

KARELISA HARTIGAN      34

“That story is not true”: Unmaking Myth in Ellen McLaughlin’s Helen and Saviana Stanescu and Richard Schechner’s YokastaS

ELIZABETH W. SCHARFFENBERGER      50

Tina Howe and Demetrian Seriocomedy

JEFFREY B. LOOMIS      66

Children of Yemayá and the American Eshu: West African Myth in African-American Theatre

KEVIN J. WETMORE, JR.      81

Punctured by Patriarchy: Theatricalizing the Christian Assault upon Native Mythology in Tomson Highway’s Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing

CHRISTY STANLAKE      96

Damaged Myth in Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker

AMELIA HOWE KRITZER      112

Between Desire and Authority: The “Dybbuk” in Modernist and Postmodern Theatrical Adaptations from S. Ansky to Tony Kushner

SHARON FRIEDMAN      123

Martin McDonagh’s Fractured Fairy Tales: Representational Horrors in The Pillowman

ANTHONY ELLIS      144

Food, Sex and Fairy Tales: Wallace Shawn’s Grasses of a Thousand Colors

SHEILA RABILLARD      160

Turning Komachi Legends, Gender and Noh Inside Out: Remaking Desire in Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Early Play

MAYA E. ROTH      178

Romancing “La Corriveau” and Marguerite de Nontron: Anne Hébert’s La Cage and L’Île de la demoiselle

GREGORY J. REID      197

Bloody Relations of Exchange: Sharon Pollock’s Revision of Legend and Feminine Myth in Blood Relations

LAURA SNYDER      211

Beth Henley’s Abundance: The Cinematic Myth of the Wild West Revised

VERNA A. FOSTER      225


About the Contributors      241

Index      243

Book Reviews & Awards

“remarkable…highly recommended”—Choice; “admirably wide-ranging survey…offers new perspectives…. There is plenty to stimulate and provoke in these essays, but what is particularly valuable about this volume is the juxtaposition and interaction of these analyses…a valuable survey on an important aspect of contemporary playwriting and theater practice..”—Comparative Drama.