Context of How I Learned to Drive

Context of How I Learned to Drive - “How I Learned to...

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Unformatted text preview: “How I Learned to Drive” by Paula Vogel Context & Response Emergence of Women’s Voices Emergence of Women’s Voices In Pre­Modern Drama, female playwrights were an anomaly Hrotsvitha, 10th Century German Nun Aphra Behn et al, 17th Century English Restoration Even in Modern Drama, gains have been slow: Early 20th Cent: Lady Gregory, Susan Glaspell, Lillian Hellman, Gertrude Stein, Agatha Christie. Late 20th Cent: Lorraine Hansberry, Caryl Churchill, Marsha Norman, Beth Henley, Suzan­ Lori Parks. Feminist Critique of Dramatic Canon Feminist Critique of Dramatic Canon Male characters far outnumber female characters Stories reinforce Patriarchal attitudes & assumptions ‘Big Daddy’ Archetype: Attractive, Powerful, Disabling male Sacrificing Daughter or Mother: Submits to create stability Traditional storytelling: product of Oedipal/Male Desire Women’s roles often lack agency or are defined by relationship to men Probing, conflict­based, forcing change, linear w/ clear beginning & end Arguably the greatest challenge to the Traditional Repertoire of Plays & Western Dramaturgical Practice ‘Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.’ (Cheris Kramarae, 1996) Paula Vogel (1951 ­ Present) Paula Vogel (1951 ­ Present) Born & raised in Washington DC Latched onto drama in high school Working class family, “broken” home Less interested in acting than behind­the­scenes work Early playwriting attempts met with rejection She was developing a unique, unabashed voice Jacobus: “famous for scatological humor, jokes about the body, and extremely plain talk” (p. 890) Paula Vogel (cont’d) Paula Vogel (cont’d) Professor of playwriting at Brown U since 1985 Her beloved brother Karl died of AIDS in 1988 Memorialized in “The Baltimore Waltz" (1992) Some Major Plays: And Baby Makes Seven (1984) The Minneola Twins (1996) How I Learned to Drive (1997) The Long Christmas Ride Home (2004) “How I Learned to Drive” (1997) Premiered at New York’s Vineyard Theatre in 1997 Won the Pulitzer in 1998 & soon was produced all over Has several non­traditional storytelling features: Mary Louise Parker as Li’l Bit, David Morse as Uncle Peck Fractured, episodic scenes & A­effect staging (qua Brecht) Reversed sequence of events (qua Pinter’s “Betrayal”) A 3­member “Greek Chorus” filling all roles, singing The effect is very deliberate: As a result, how do we see Peck? How do we see Li’l Bit? ...
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