Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Transgressive Performance: Theatre that Questions Gender, Sexual Identity, and Sexuality

ENGL 271.601
instructor(s):
TR 5-6:30

From the shocking frankness of Mae West's Sex to the "love that dare not speak its name" of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour; from the joyless partying of Mart Crowley's The Boys in the Band to the joyous self-invention of Charles Busch's Theodora: She-Bitch of Byzantium theatre has explored our notions of gender, sexual identity and sexuality. In this course, we will look at 20th-century plays, entertainments, and performers that have "broken the rules." Queer, drag and camp theatre will be prominent topics, and we will include plays by Tony Kushner and Charles Ludlam; entertainments by Lypsinka and Dame Edna Everage; cabaret and musical performances, and more. We will also study material that break taboos of heterosexual behavior (Fight Club, Sex and the City).