Violence in American Drama

Essays on Its Staging, Meanings and Effects

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About the Book

This interdisciplinary collection of 19 essays addresses violence on the American stage. Topics include the revolutionary period and the role of violence in establishing national identity, violence by and against ethnic groups, and females as perpetrators and victims, as well as state and psychological violence and violence within the family. The book works to assess whether representing violence may cause its cessation, or whether it generates further destruction. Featured playwrights include Susan Glaspell, Sophie Treadwell, Tennessee Williams, William Inge, Amiri Baraka, Luis Valdes, Cherríe Moraga, Sam Shepard, Tony Kushner, Neil LaBute, John Guare, Rebecca Gilman, and Heather MacDonald.

About the Author(s)

Alfonso Ceballos Muñoz is an assistant professor of English at the University of Cádiz, Spain, where he teaches American literature.
Ramón Espejo Romero is an associate professor of English at the University of Sevilla, Spain, where his teaching primarily focuses on colonial and 19th century American literature, as well as modern American drama.
Bernardo Muñoz Martínez is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Sevilla, Spain, and his research concerns contemporary American fiction and reception studies.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Alfonso Ceballos Muñoz, Ramón Espejo Romero and Bernardo Muñoz Martinez
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 296
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6393-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8897-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Revolution and After: Heroism and Violence in Early National Plays about the American Revolution

AMELIA HOWE KRITZER      15

Violence Averted Only to Return: Visiting the Archive of “Pocahontas Plays”

TAMARA UNDERINER      28

The Thrust for Freedom from Systems of Oppression: A Century of Suicide, Prolicide and Viricide in Plays by American Women

CHERYL BLACK      44

Sane Enough to Kill: On Women, Madness and the Theatricality of Violence in Susan Glaspell’s The Verge

NOELIA HERNANDO-REAL      59

New Critical Approaches to Machinal: Sophie Treadwell’s Response to Structural Violence

MIRIAM LÓPEZ RODRÍGUEZ      72

Working Women and Violence in Jazz Era American Drama

JERRY DICKEY      85

The Guns Sing in Harmony: Johnny Johnson and the Musical War

ANNE BEGGS      99

The Violence at the Top of the Stairs: Domestic Dystopia in Inge’s Heartland

DOROTHY CHANSKY      112

Psychodrama Strategies That Protect Tennessee Williams’ Late-Play Characters from a Violent World

DANA RUFOLO      128

“Actual Explosions and Actual Brutality”: Baraka, Violence and the Black Arts Stage

DIANA ROSENHAGEN      143

Invisibility’s Contusions: Violence in Cherríe Moraga’s Heroes and Saints and The Hungry Woman and Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit

IRMA MAYORGA      157

Threats, Bad Language and Imperatives: Verbal Violence in Politically (In)Correct Institutional Speech in American Drama at the End of the Millennium

YIYI LÓPEZ GÁNDARA      172

“Arms in Women’s Hands”: The Subversion of the Victim Role of Women in Heather McDonald’s Dream of a Common Language

MARÍA DOLORES NARBONA CARRIÓN      186

Rebecca Gilman’s Exploration of Gender Conditioning as a Factor in Violence Against Women

MICHAEL SOLOMONSON      200

Neil LaBute, Vigilante of Violence: An Examination of His Trilogy The Shape of Things, Fat Pig and Reasons to Be Pretty

N. J. STANLEY      212

Challenging the American Dream: U.S. Theater and the Continuum of State Violence

MARTA FERNÁNDEZ MORALES      224

Terrorist Violence and Its (Dis)Figurations in Three American Post–9/11 Plays

MARKUS WESSENDORF      239

The Cancer Body (Politic) of American Violence: John Guare’s A Few Stout Individuals

VIRGINIA DAKARI      250

Affecting the Audience: Gina Gionfriddo’s After Ashley

BARBARA OZIEBLO      267

About the Contributors      279

Index      283