An Introduction to Feminism and Theatre by Elaine Aston

By Elaine Aston

Ultimately an available and clever creation to the energising and tough dating among feminism and theatre.
during this transparent and enlightening booklet, Aston discusses wide-ranging theoretical themes and gives case experiences including:
* Feminism and theatre history
* `M/Othering the self': French feminist conception and theatre
* Black ladies: shaping feminist theatre
* acting gender: a materialist practice
* Colonial landscapes
Feminist concept is altering the way in which theatre is taught and practised. An creation to Feminism and Theatre is obligatory analyzing for an individual who calls for an exact, insightful and up to date advisor to this dynamic box of analysis.

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FINDING A TRADITION 21 Hrotsvit Arguing the case for the reinstatement of Hrotsvit as an important ‘first’ in women’s theatre has been considerable. The argument comes in two parts: first, why Hrotsvit was left out of the canon when her ‘catalog of pioneering achievements’, not least of which is the claim that ‘her dramas are the first performable plays of the Middle Ages’, is outstanding (Wilson 1984:30); and second, why a reassessment of her work is seen by feminist scholars as an essential exercise.

Actresses and their working conditions The mythology of the actress as prostitute, popularized throughout different periods of theatre history, has been deconstructed by feminist approaches to theatre history which detail the working conditions of the female performer. This is exemplified in two recent full-length studies by Elizabeth Howe (1992) and Tracy Davis (1991) which respectively document the working conditions of the actress in the Restoration and Victorian periods. Howe’s study of the first English actresses points to the gender-based inequalities of the profession which employed men in far greater numbers than women, did not allow women to become a 26 INTRODUCTION TO FEMINISM AND THEATRE ‘sharer’ in either of the two companies formed after 1660, and, with the exception of a few female ‘stars’, paid women lower wages than men (1992:26–7).

E. theories concerned with the unfixing of meaning, as proposed by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida; for a brief, accessible introduction see Reinelt and Roach 1992:111–13) and feminist strategies of revisioning (whether linguistic, philosophical, pyschoanalytical, etc), hold some common ground with Cixous’s. As Moi comments, ‘it is interesting to note that in spite of certain divergences, Irigaray’s vision of femininity and of feminine language remains almost indistinguishable from Cixous’s’ (1985:143).

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