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.