Modern Drama

Publisher: University of Kansas. Dept. of English; University of Toronto. Graduate Centre for Study of Drama, University of Toronto Press


  • Impact factor
  • 5-year impact
  • Cited half-life
  • Immediacy index
  • Eigenfactor
  • Article influence
  • Other titles
    Modern drama (Online)
  • ISSN
  • OCLC
  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

University of Toronto Press

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author cannot archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Author's version only
    • Open Access repositories
  • Classification
    ​ yellow

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Several years ago, the New York Public Library asked me to speak about Shaw, gender, and women’s history at an event entitled, Why Shaw Still Matters. As I explained to the audience, I felt considerable ambivalence about this charge: my book Shaw’s Daughters: Dramatic and Narrative Constructions of Gender had appeared in 1991, and, from my perspective, other related monographs should have long since supplanted mine, resulting in other feminist scholars’ being invited to appear on that panel. Thus, I was pleased to learn that a recent volume of essays, Shaw and Feminisms: On Stage and Off, edited by D.A. Hadfield and Jean Reynolds, aimed “to collect materials covering various aspects of Shaw’s work and influence and put them into dialogue with contemporary feminist thinking” (8). Since the first flurry of scholarship on Shaw and women emerged in the 1970s, a number of relevant articles, as well as a few monographs, have appeared, but this new collection endeavours to negotiate the tension between current feminist perspectives and history: “even as this contemporary reconsideration calls the extent of Shaw’s feminism into question . . . Shaw played a major role in the early stages of feminism” (9). In other words, Shaw scholars are now able to look more impartially at, and acknowledge the complexity of, questions relevant to feminism in relation to his life and work, without the resistance that earlier feminists faced. Simultaneously, the volume provides nuanced readings of dramatic, biographical, and historical topics to confirm that Shaw studies has yet to exhaust this rich area of research. Hadfield and Reynolds organize the collection of eleven essays into three parts: “The Women in Shaw’s Plays,” “Shaw’s Relationships with Women,” and “Shavian Feminism in the Larger World.” Following their introduction, which traces Shaw’s theatrical career in relation to developments in women’s history, four essays examine gender-related political and cultural issues in Shaw’s dramatic works. Tracy J.R. Collins explores “Shaw’s Athletic-Minded Women” (19) through his frequent depiction of female characters’ physical strength. Collins situates these figures alongside the construct of the New Woman and reads them via more contemporary feminist theories of the body. While she rightly notes Shaw’s fascination with this character type, she unfortunately fails to engage either the rational-dress movement that Shaw himself championed or the interest in physical culture that was burgeoning in Europe and America at the time (e.g., through the theories of Delsarte and Jahn) – both of which are integrally related to her topic and would have enriched this discussion. Lawrence Switzky takes up Shaw’s well-known stance as an anti-vivisectionist and juxtaposes it with a trope of gendered violence that he traces through a close reading of The Philanderer. In so doing, Switzky compellingly hypothesizes a lineage from Shaw to Artaud and suggests that “the fragile, sometimes violated, distance between laughter and pain” that we see in Shaw “places him in the vanguard of twentieth-century dramatic experimentation” (53). In her analysis of Vivie Warren as a New Woman, Ann Wilson builds productively on extant scholarship on Shaw and gender to demonstrate how the connections between female identity and British imperialism notably omit England’s daughters. Wilson smartly interweaves these considerations with her examination of the contradictions embedded in Kitty Warren’s aspirations to middle-class status, ultimately demonstrating the interpenetration of British gender, class, and political ideologies. In another strong close reading, Brad Kent notes the comparative paucity of scholarship on Shaw’s Irish women. Using John Bull’s Other Island as his primary example, Kent positions the play in dialogue with Irish nationalist drama, and, more broadly, as emblematic of Ireland’s gendered relationship with England. The four essays that comprise the volume’s second section examine Shaw’s relationships with professional theatre women: actresses, dramatists, and critics. As Leonard W. Conolly aptly notes, scholars have already looked extensively at Shaw’s ties to prominent female performers, yet by considering letters that the playwright exchanged with a lesser-known actress, Mary Hamilton, we are able to understand more about “the challenges facing young women as they tried to establish a professional career in the early years of...
    Modern Drama 01/2014; 57(1):131-133.
  • Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(1):146-148.
  • Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(1):1-18.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Oscar Wilde’s Salomé is a lush, lurid, spectacular reimagining of the New Testament tale of the death of John the Baptist. To this scant base, Wilde added numerous elements suggesting complex, troubled notions of “the Jew.” From the near complete absence of scholarship on Wilde vis-à -vis the Jew, it might well be assumed that Jews appear in Wilde simply as a factual background for ancient through modern life. Instead, Wilde’s conflicted uses of the figure of the Jew are key to understanding central issues not only in Salomé but in Wilde’s work and thought at large.
    Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(2):197-215.
  • Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(2):267-269.
  • Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(1):153-156.
  • Source
    Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(1):148-150.
  • Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(2):276-278.
  • Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(1):90-99.
  • Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(1):162-164.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article will examine the act of touch, real or imagined, in Beckett’s television plays Eh Joe and Nacht und Träume. The kinesis and soundscape of Eh Joe are structured around an absent (female) figure. The solitary body of this play is touched by the (absent) presence of an exterior, ghostly figure. In Nacht und Träume, there is a significant moment of touch: hands emerge from the darkness in the image dreamed by the lone figure. These hands also withdraw, and the dream fades. I argue that this reaching toward – and oftentimes failure to make – contact with the other is a key “haptic” element of Beckett’s aesthetic in these plays. Using the work of philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, I connect the act of touch as presented in these plays with its meaning in culture as a verifier of presence, human or divine. Touch, while it signifies an attempt to verify presence (one thinks of Doubting Thomas) also, in Nancy’s thinking, reveals an anxiety over presence, thus enabling a discussion of these plays in relation to their medium and the ghostly or ‘virtual’ bodies presented therein.
    Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(2):216-229.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Various critical responses to Mark Ravenhill’s Shopping and Fucking claim that the play reflects Jean-Francois Lyotard’s postmodern idea that contemporary culture has lost the “grand narratives” that bound previous generations together. I maintain that, instead of being absent from the play, grand narratives actually permeate Shopping and Fucking, providing the scaffolding that supports its plot and advances its surprisingly communal ethos. Focusing on the play’s explicit evocation of the myth of Phaeton, I explore the issues and concerns raised by this Greco-Roman grand narrative play out in the lives of the main characters, bringing coherence to their seemingly fractured world and offering hope of cultural equilibrium. My analysis shows how grand narratives provide an interpretative lens through which the ethical core of this putatively bleak and brutal play is revealed.
    Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(2):251-266.
  • Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(2):280-283.
  • Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(2):269-271.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Known and celebrated for the startling imagery and dream-like characteristics of her plays, Adrienne Kennedy's work challenges anyone who decides to stage her work. This article considers the use of digital technologies that contribute to Adrienne Kennedy's evocative and powerful vision. Focusing on a production of Sleep Deprivation Chamber (1996), which Kennedy co-authored with her son Adam P. Kennedy, it explores how integrating digital animations and video projections can challenge conceptually some of Kennedy's central themes, particularly acts of writing and spectating. The article aims to complicate the core question that drives the dramatic: what happens to text when it turns to image? Kennedy's dramaturgy has a photograph-like sensibility laced with simultaneity and this article explores the possibilities of using various contemporary technical means to assist in the staging of her plays.
    Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(1):70-89.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article investigates five Arab plays based on the Greek Oedipus legend: TawfÄ«q Al-HÌ£akÄ«m’s King Oedipus, ‘AlÄ« AhÌ£mad Bākṯīr’s The Tragedy of Oedipus, FawzÄ« Fahmī’s ‘Awdat Al-Ä Äâ€™ib (The Return of the Absent), ‘AlÄ« Sālim’s The Comedy of Oedipus: You’re the One Who Killed the Beast, and WalÄ«d IhÌ®lāṣī’s Oedipus: A Modern Tragedy. These leading Arab playwrights have used the Oedipus myth more than any other Greek legend as a source text for their plays. The present article is an in-depth analysis of the Arabization of the Greek myth and of the different perspectives implicit in the various Arab versions of Oedipus. It shows the Arab playwrights’ departures from and sincere portrayal of the Greek Oedipus legend to suit Arab audiences.
    Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(2):171-196.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article emphasizes the representation of 1950s culture in Diary of Lights. It examines the artistic and cultural references made by the play's major characters, beginning with Billie and followed by Roy, Eddie, Aisha, Mohammed, Margo, Aaron, and Ellen, and chronicles how they expose the tensions inspired by racism and prejudice in an integrationist (or post-segregationist) period. It concludes with a discussion on how the play reimagines aspects of Kennedy's biography in order to more accurately capture the feel of living in the 1950s.
    Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(1):40-54.
  • Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(1):100-145.
  • Source
    Modern Drama 01/2012; 54(1):108-110.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To make oneself an artist is difficult in any society. But when your society's cultural traditions actively discourage and devalue you, the challenge is enormous and the emotional cost is great. Adrienne Kennedy wanted to be a major writer at a time when America's literary culture took little or no interest in African-American writers of either sex or in women of any race. This essay explores the strategies Kennedy used to make herself into an original and important writer. She refused to turn her back on cultures and canons that ignored or belittled her. She took a passionate, even voracious interest in multiple traditions: English literature; American movies; classical music, spirituals, and jazz; European painting and African sculpture. She created her own artistic and personal legacies, writing stories and plays that brought these divergent genres and traditions into the same imaginative space. She explored the emotional cost without being silenced by it. In the process, she created new literary worlds and forms.
    Modern Drama 01/2012; 55(1):55-69.

Related Journals