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Codifying the National Self

Spectators, Actors and the American Dramatic Text


Edited By Barbara Ozieblo and María Dolores Narbona-Carrión

Theater has always been the site of visionary hopes for a reformed national future and a space for propagating ideas, both cultural and political, and such a conceptualization of the histrionic art is all the more valuable in the post-9/11 era. The essays in this volume address the concept of «Americanness» and the perceptions of the «alien» – as ethnic, class or gendered minorities – as dealt with in the work of American playwrights from Anna Cora Mowatt, through Rachel Crothers or Susan Glaspell, and on to Sam Shepard, David Mamet, Nilo Cruz or Wallace Shawn. The authors of the essays come from a multi-national university background that includes the United States, the United Arab Emirates and various countries of the European Community. In recognition of the multiple components of drama, the essays for the volume were selected in order to exemplify different aspects and theories of theater studies: the playwright, the play, the audience and the actor are all examined as part of the theatrical experience that serves to formulate American national identity.


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Sophie Treadwell, Jung, and the Mandala. Acting a Gendered Identity 123


Sophie Treadwell, Jung, and the Mandala Acting a Gendered Identity Miriam LÓPEZ-RODRÍGUEZ University of Málaga Although American playwright Sophie Treadwell (1885-1970) has gained some scholarly reputation and critical acclaim as the author of the expressionist drama Machinal (1921), the rest of her extensive theatrical production has not attracted much public or academic atten- tion except for Jerry Dickey’s very useful and long overdue Sophie Treadwell: A Research and Production Sourcebook.1 That her other thirty-nine plays – three-act plays and one-acts – have been usually neglected by critics and scholars alike is largely due to the fact that Treadwell never managed to achieve another major success on Broad- way. A second reason for this lack of scholarly attention, in close con- nection with the first one, is the fact that most of Treadwell’s plays were never published; therefore, scholars wishing to carry out research on her work are forced to resort to the manuscripts housed at the University of Arizona. Ironically enough, she did not attain any other box-office hit partly for the very same reasons that should secure her a place in the history of twentieth-century American drama: first, for her obstinacy in choosing “unpopular” topics – such as racism or psychological abuse – and thereby forcing her audience to face certain realities of American society that they would have preferred to ignore in order to preserve their notion of the American dream. Secondly, for her constant experimentation with new theatrical techniques and styles. Just to mention some of her inno-...

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