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Fornes: Theater in the Present Tense

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The work of Maria Irene Fornes, author of such acclaimed plays as Fefu and Her Friends, Mud, and The Conduct of Life, has for over three decades earned the attention of theater-goers, scholars and critics. She has won eight Obie awards, has provoked considerable controversy, and has consistently challenged and delighted the reader and spectator with her idiosyncratic voice and her serious and yet profoundly playful approach to the theater and to the issues of humanity, gender ...
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Overview


The work of Maria Irene Fornes, author of such acclaimed plays as Fefu and Her Friends, Mud, and The Conduct of Life, has for over three decades earned the attention of theater-goers, scholars and critics. She has won eight Obie awards, has provoked considerable controversy, and has consistently challenged and delighted the reader and spectator with her idiosyncratic voice and her serious and yet profoundly playful approach to the theater and to the issues of humanity, gender politics, and art.

Diane Lynn Moroff focuses on Fornes's major plays, providing illuminating readings of her unique and irreverent body of work. The book traces the career of this influential playwright, director, and teacher, including the reception of her plays, the range of critical responses (particularly those of feminist critics), and an introduction to Fornes's theatrical philosophies. It looks at such critical issues in Fornes's work as the representation of female subjectivity, theater as metaphor and context, art as ritual, and the role of the spectator. In a final chapter, Fornes's plays including Abingdon Square and her most recent work, What of the Night? are examined in the context of the sexualization of character, an ongoing theme for Fornes.

Fornes: Theater in the Present Tense will appeal to scholars and students in theater studies and women's studies and to anyone interested or engaged in contemporary theater.

Diane Lynn Moroff is Assistant Professor of English, Oglethorpe University.

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Editorial Reviews

Beth Cleary
The trick in appraising Fornes is in developing a narrative/analytical voice which preserves the erratic rhythm of the texts themselves. [Moroff &339;'s book] break[s] ground in [its attempt] to sustain these strange pleasures over several linked chapters....[Moroff's] concluding chapter suggests a self-consciousness about the boundaried position of text in relation to performance. She offers the image of the palimpsest, a haunted canvas which compels the trace-seeking gaze of the viewer. This new figure at the end of the study not only refers to Fornes's own scenic designs, but works like Fornes's infamous violent endings: it offers a new way out, a new image for the onlooker to make of what she will. Overall, this book locates many points of looking, onstage and off, from which readers and spectators can rediscover Fornes's theatrical figures. -- (Beth Cleary, Theatre Journal, March 1998).
E. Ramirez
Finally, a worthwhile, in-depth, insightful study of the work of this leading contemporary American dramatist....Maria Irene Fornes's explorations of political, feminist, and absurdist theater emerge as striking elements in production, but Moroff transcends strictly literary analyses to arrive at crucial issues dealing with the exploration of subjectivity, social relations, language, and representation....This volume will be particularly important for practitioners and researchers interested in cultural studies, American theater, and women's studies. -- (E. C. Ramirez, Choice April 1997)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472107261
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/1996
  • Series: Theater: Theory/Text/Performance Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 6.21 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Theatrical Presents 17
Fefu and Her Friends 33
Mud 57
Sarita 75
The Conduct of Life 95
Palimpsests 117
Notes 131
Appendices 139
Chronology of Fornes's Productions (Selected) 139
Chronology of Fornes's Publications 144
Chronology of Fornes's Honors and Awards 145
Bibliography 147
Index 153
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