Adventures in Feminist Dramaturgy: The Road Less Traveled

In their lively invocation of a feminist dramaturgy that can lead to innovative and challenging directions in modern theatre-making, Laura Hope and Philippa Kelly make use of first-hand interviews with directors, actors, designers, and critics, as well as their own experiences in the theatre, to open up feminist dramaturgy as a field of enquiry and performance possibility. The authors begin by discussing what happens when a dramaturg's performance strategies are vastly different from what a director envisions. This discussion moves naturally to Hope and Kelly's analysis of canonical plays they hope to re-think in terms of gender at the same time that they resist the implication that a feminist perspective is a prescription for a political and social agenda. Casting a critical eye on "mainstream" approaches to classical plays, the authors revisit casting practices, editing philosophies, and directorial concepts that provide thin, stereotypical depictions of male and female characters, arguing for closer textual and cultural analyses of misguided ventures such as the Lysistrata Project. Their commentary on appeals to audience involvement highlights the difficulty of challenging audience preconceptions and the possibilities for expanding audience reception, while the counterproductive rigidity with which organizations like the Beckett estate resist new approaches to theatrical production are exposed in a discussion of feminist dramaturgy's potential to reinvigorate a play like Waiting for Godot. Adventures in Dramaturgy concludes with the authors' personal journey to forge new directions within a specific theatre company and in the professional world at large.
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