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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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This document was uploaded on 10/29/2011 for the course DRAM 120 at UNC.
- Fall '08