10928 Gender and Feminism in Modern Theater 1

Credits: 6 advanced credits in Theater or in Literature

Prerequisites: 36 credits, including one of the following: Experiencing Theater: Introduction to Drama and the Theater. Students must also fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

Recommended: Introduction to Gender Studies, Modern Literary and Cultural Theory: An Introduction.

Author: Sharon Aronson-Lehavi

The course deals with theoretical approaches to the representation of women and femininity on the stage and in central works of the feminist theater in the 20th century and today, through the presentation of four main styles and theoretical models: (a) The advantages and disadvantages of the realistic style in theater from a feminist point of view; (b) The epic/Brechtian theater and the feminist theater; (c) The feminist theater and the notion of “feminine writing”; (d) Feminist show art. It discusses basic terms and themes, including gender as structural and cultural phenomena, violence against women, the representation of the feminine body on the stage, the audience’s point of view, is there a feminine “stage language”?, etc. The materials include dramatic and show art works from the early 20th century to the present, and theoretical writings.

Topics: Realism and the feminist theaterA Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen; A subversive or underground action? The establishment of alternative language in Trifles by Susan Glaspell; Language as a tool for oppression and social strengthening: “new realism” in Mud by Maria Irene Fornés. Epic theater and feministic theater (according to Elin Diamond) – Epic elements in Cloud Nine and Top Girls by Caryl Churchill; Epic theater and new reading of the canon: Rina Yerushalmi’s Bible project. Feminist theater and “feminine writing” (according to Hélène Cixous) – Feminist representations of “feminine language” and the feminine body: Portrait de Dora by Hélène Cixous, The Virgin of Ludmir by Josepha Even-Shoshan, The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. Show art and feminist show – Body, audience and community: Old Wives Tales by Tamar Raban and Guy Gutman.

1Students may write a seminar paper in this course, although it is not required.