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Women in Theatre: Dangerous Women

ENGL 290.601
instructor(s):
M 6-9

Why are some women perceived as "dangerous?" Is a woman's refusal to conform to societal expectations and traditional gender roles a dangerous act? To whom--or what--do rebellious women pose danger? Are 'feminists' frightening? Why? This course will examine "dangerous women" in theatrical representations drawn from American plays, films, and performance pieces of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, created by both male and female artists. Among the characters and works to be considered are: the "young woman" who murders her husband in Sophie Treadwell's Machinal; Blanche DuBois, the smart, spinsterish, neurasthenic who "preys" on young boys in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire; Karen, the woman accused of lesbianism in Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour; the student who accuses her professor of sexual harrassment in David Mamet's Oleanna, and the many women talking about you-know-what in Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. Where possible, we will attend relevant live theatrical performances in Philadelphia.