During the first half of the 20
century approximately 10,000 short plays were written in the United States. This book examines twenty one-act plays by authors such as Mary Shaw, Susan Glaspell, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who wrote from such diverse backgrounds as women’s clubs, art theaters, or commercial theaters. This study argues that the plays share a structural organization along spatial dichotomies of
theatrical space within and
theatrical space without. While some writers use the underlying structure of separate spheres and organize place and space in order to promote a broader definition of «domesticity», the spatial configurations in other plays are read as appropriations, affirmations, negotiations, subversions, or transgressions of the separate spheres dichotomy. Substantial bibliographies documenting the productivity of the one-act genre supplement this study.