Feminist Theatrical Revisions of Classic Works

Critical Essays

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About the Book

Re-visioning the classics, often in a subversive mode, has evolved into its own theatrical genre in recent years, and many of these productions have been informed by feminist theory and practice. This book examines recent adaptations of classic texts (produced since 1980) influenced by a range of feminisms, and illustrates the significance of historical moment, cultural ideology, dramaturgical practice, and theatrical venue for shaping an adaptation. Essays are arranged according to the period and genre of the source text re-visioned: classical theater and myth (e.g. Antigone, Metamorphoses), Shakespeare and seventeenth-century theater (e.g. King Lear, The Rover), nineteenth and twentieth century narratives and reflections (e.g. The Scarlet Letter, Jane Eyre, A Room of One’s Own), and modern drama (e.g. A Doll House, A Streetcar Named Desire).

About the Author(s)

Sharon Friedman is a professor at the Gallatin School, New York University.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Sharon Friedman
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 300
Bibliographic Info: 14 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3425-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5239-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Introduction

SHARON FRIEDMAN      1

I. CLASSICAL THEATER AND MYTH

All Is Not Right in the House of Atreus: Feminist Theatrical Renderings of the Oresteia

JULIE MALNIG      21

The Philomela Myth as Postcolonial Feminist Theater: Timberlake Wertenbaker’s The Love of the Nightingale

MAYA E. ROTH      42

Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses: Storytelling Theater as Feminist Process

ANDREA J. NOURYEH      61

The Political Is Personal: Feminism, Democracy and Antigone Project

CAROL MARTIN      79

II. SHAKESPEARE AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURY THEATER

Lear’s Daughters and Sons: Twisting the Canonical Landscape

LESLEY FERRIS      97

The Feminist Playwright as Critic: Paula Vogel, Ann-Marie MacDonald, and Djanet Sears Interpret Othello

SHARON FRIEDMAN      113

Transgressive Female Desire and Subversive Critique in the Seventeenth Century Canon: JoAnne Akalaitis’s Staging of

Phèdre, The Rover, and ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore

CHERYL BLACK      135

Reconfiguring the Text and the Self: The Wooster Group’s To You, the Birdie! (Phèdre)

JOHAN CALLENS      152

III. NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURY NARRATIVES AND REFLECTIONS: THE ROMANCE, THE NOVEL, AND THE ESSAY

Outside the Law: Feminist Adaptations of The Scarlet Letter

LENORA CHAMPAGNE      169

Expressions of “Lust and Rage”: Shared Experience Theatre’s Adaptation of Jane Eyre

KRISTIN CROUCH      189

A Mystical Place Called Grand Isle: Adapting Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

CHIORI MIYAGAWA      204

SITI Company’s Room: Theatrical Performance and/as Feminist Invitational Rhetoric

SANDEE K. MCGLAUN      215

IV. MODERN DRAMA

Deconstructing (A Streetcar Named) Desire: Gender Re-citation in Belle Reprieve

DEBORAH R. GEIS      237

Nora’s Journey Through a Century of Feminisms to the Postmodern Stage of Mabou Mines DollHouse

AMY S. GREEN      247

Bibliography      267

About the Contributors      279

Index      283

Book Reviews & Awards

“a perceptive and broadly conceived overview for those who wish to become acquainted with the kinds of adaptations created by women in theatre over the past thirty years…the dazzling variety of the dramatic texts and productions encompassed by the volume will be a delight to any serious student of drama and theatre”—Text and Presentation, 2009.