The intent of this thesis is to investigate the influence of 1980's and 1990's lesbian playwrights on modern queer representation in theatre. By analyzing the successful works of troupes and artists born out of the Women's One World (WOW) Café, it became apparent that the greatest changes in lesbian portrayal on stage came from queer and feminist authorship. Additionally, WOW Café became the common denominator in the success of many lesbian playwrights due to the freedom it gave its writers and performers. As an independent theatre, WOW allowed its members to experiment with few rules, and offered a stage to pieces too experimental, feminist, or queer to see commercial Broadway success. Thesis discussion includes analysis of historically homophobic theatre, the techniques and topics conveyed in the work of The Five Lesbian Brothers and Split Britches, and the importance of WOW as a stepping stone for the success of plays like Lisa Kron's Well. Lesbian-centric work is often left out of theatre history in classrooms even today, and by diving deeper into the important history of queer women in drama, the intent of this thesis is to add to the academia in a way that helps future lesbian artists, performers, and students recognize themselves in the narrative.
Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
School of Performing Arts
Maginness, Brenna L., "The WOW Factor: Lesbian Representation and Impact in Late-20th Century Theatre" (2019). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 483.