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When I Grow Up...

jzarate's picture
When I Grow Up… (please read attached files)
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Anne Dalke's picture

Feminist Drama

A delight, as I work my way through twenty-some papers, to come upon one that tries to explore the questions of what it means to be socialized as a woman (and a feminist) in a creative form. I especially appreciate the way in which you've woven together a range of feminist statements into theatrical form; doing so gives your piece both the weight of history and the playfulness of difference.

I've got lots of ideas about where you can go with this, jzarate. I'd like to hear you explore more fully this whole notion of performing feminism, presuming that--just as there is not one feminism--there isn't just one sort of feminist theater.

What sort of feminism have you scripted? A comedy of manners? Surface level revelations? Challenges to deeper social structure? Are certain types of theatrical composition or dramaturgy more appropriate than others to promote feminist understanding in an audience?

When I taught this course last year, the students selected two plays to finish the semester: Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles (1988) and Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive (1997). The latter was the real test for our identity politics, because it challenged us to empathize w/ the oppressor...and we didn't want to. We weren't sure that the goal of feminism was forgiveness, weren't sure how well the play worked as a finale for "Critical Feminist Studies."

Vogel is great, though, at using drama to try and get to a notion of the interior that novelists give us but plays do not, trying to balance entertainment and dealing with subjects that hurt us. She's also spoken about her belief that what "theater does best is it creates a community."

Is that, in part, what you are aiming for here?