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Staging Separate Spheres

Theatrical Spaces as Sites of Antagonism in One-Act Plays by American Women, 1910–1930- Including Bibliographies on One-Act Plays in the United States, 1900–1940


Susanne Auflitsch

During the first half of the 20 th 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.
Contents: The Term «One-Act Play» – The Methodology of Theatrical Spaces – One-Act Plays in the American Theater, 1910-1930: Production Contexts – Appreciating Separate Spheres: One-Act Comedies and Fantasies – Adapting Separate Spheres: One-Act Suffrage Plays – Attacking Separate Spheres: One-Act Tragedies – (Con)Fusing Separate Spheres: Art Theater One-Act Plays.