Suzan lori parks, maria irene fornes, young jean lee, tracy letts, theatre, theater, violence, theatrical violence, stage combat, women's studies, latina theatre, asian american theatre, african american theatre
As an Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors, theatrical violence is something that has always captivated me. When a female combat instructor once told me that even though I throw a great punch I will never be able to use it because women are always on the receiving end of violence in theatre, I wondered if this was truly the case. After a thorough exploration of several works with theatrical violence, I am glad to say that it is not the case. When most scholars examine violence in theatre, the focus is either male-centric or specifically on domestic violence situations involving a male abusing a female. I will examine theatrical violence through a new lens that has yet to be thoroughly critically explored: violence where the female is the aggressor. Through selected works of three American minority female playwrights: Suzan-Lori Parks' In the Blood, Maria Irene Fornes' Conduct of Life, and Young Jean Lee's Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven, I will analyze the female-enacted violence that occurs within these plays using feminist theories and psychology to examine how it happens, why it happens, who the victims are, and what these acts of violence say about minority American women in society today. I will explore the stage directions and dialogue surrounding the violence and analyzing the use or absence of weaponry, the breakdown or build-up of language prior to and after the violent action, and whether or not the violent action occurs before or after a violent action is committed against the female. For comparison, I will also analyze work by an American male playwright with violence in the same way: Tracy Letts' August: Osage County.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Busselle, Kate, "When Oppressed Women Attack: Female-Enacted Violence Through Minority American Female Playwrights' Works" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1481.