Women Playwrights of Diversity: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Jane T. Peterson; Suzanne Bennett | Go to book overview

SPLIT BRITCHES

(fl. 1980- )


BIOGRAPHY

The Split Britches company ( Lois Weaver, Peggy Shaw, and Deborah Margolin) began in 1980 with a play by that name. Original members Weaver and Shaw founded the WOW (Women's One World) Cafe in 1982, and Split Britches has originated most of their work from this theatre. Weaver began her feminist theatre work with Spiderwoman and stayed with that collective for over seven years. While she was on a European tour, she met Peggy Shaw who was touring with a gay cabaret, Hot Peaches. Shaw was invited to help Spiderwoman, and when Lois Weaver began work on a play based on her three aunts in the Blue Ridge Mountains entitled Split Britches, the break from Spiderwoman occurred. Deborah Margolin was invited to script the play in 1981 and later joined as a performer when someone else dropped out. Thus began an enduring historic collaboration in feminist theatre that has provided inspiration for a distinguished group of feminist theatre theoreticians and scholars as well as actors, writers, and directors. In an introduction to her anthology of their work, Sue-Ellen Case summarizes, "They have lived their lives and their relationship on the stage, improvising it into episodes and schtick for almost twenty years. They are the lesbian actors of their time" ( Case, 34).

The background of each individual informs the themes and preoccupations of their group work: Margolin as a heterosexual Jewish woman; Shaw as a working-class "butch" lesbian mother; and Weaver as a Southern, working-class "femme" lesbian. Each makes a unique contribution: Shaw in design and visual detail, Margolin as a writer, and Weaver as a director and acting coach. In an interview, Weaver disclaimed a theoretical or political basis for their work: "We talked about our own experiences most all the time. We rarely ever talked about technique or theory or certainly politics."

-318-

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Women Playwrights of Diversity: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Introduction: The Challenges of Diversity 1
  • The Sista Masses (1970s-1990s): African American Women Playwrights 7
  • Brave, Bold, and Poetic: The New Generation of Asian American Women Playwrights 13
  • Beyond the Festival Latino: (Re)Defining Latina Drama for the Mainstage 17
  • Lesbian Playwrights: Diverse Interests, Identities, and Styles 27
  • PLAYWRIGHTS 35
  • Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro 37
  • Claudia Allen 42
  • Lynne Alvarez 45
  • Jane Anderson 49
  • Valetta Anderson 53
  • Janis Astor Del Valle 56
  • Jeannie Barroga 59
  • Martha Boesing 63
  • Claire Chafee 69
  • Jane Chambers 72
  • Eugenie Chan 76
  • Denise ChÁvez 79
  • Theresa Chavez 83
  • Kitty Chen 87
  • Pearl Cleage 90
  • Kathleen Collins 94
  • Kia Corthron (1961- ) 97
  • Clare Coss 101
  • Migdalia Cruz 104
  • Linda Faigao-Hall 109
  • Evelina Fernandez (1954- ) 112
  • Five Lesbian Brothers (fl. 1989- ) 116
  • Maria Irene Fornes (1930- ) 120
  • J. E. Franklin 128
  • Terry Galloway 131
  • Terry Garner 135
  • P. J. Gibson 137
  • Gloria Gonzalez (1940- ) 142
  • Silvia Gonzalez S. (1958- ) 145
  • Judy Grahn (1940- ) 150
  • Jessica Hagedorn 153
  • Wendy Hammond 157
  • Kim Hines 160
  • Endesha Ida Mae Holland 163
  • Velina Hasu Houston 166
  • Holly Hughes 171
  • Naomi Iizuka 175
  • Marsha A. Jackson 178
  • Mercilee M. (lee) Jenkins 181
  • Julie Jensen 184
  • Michael Angel Johnson 188
  • Karen Jones-Meadows 191
  • June Jordan 194
  • Honour Kane 197
  • Adrienne Kennedy 201
  • Susan Kim 206
  • Tina Landau 209
  • Cherylene Lee 212
  • Lisa Loomer 216
  • Josefina LÓpez 220
  • Nikki Nojima Louis 223
  • Lynn Martin 226
  • Robbie Mccauley 230
  • Cassandra Medley 234
  • Marlane Meyer 238
  • Susan Miller (1944- ) 242
  • Chiori Miyagawa (1961- ) 246
  • CherrÍe Moraga (1952- ) 249
  • Lesli-Jo Morizono 254
  • Phyllis Nagy 256
  • Lynn Nottage 260
  • Madeleine Olnek 264
  • Monica Palacios 267
  • Suzan-Lori Parks 270
  • Estela Portillo-Trambley 276
  • Dolores Prida 279
  • Aishah Rahman (1937- ) 283
  • Sandra Rodgers (1956- ) 287
  • Kate Moira Ryan (1966- ) 290
  • Milcha Sanchez-Scott 293
  • Joan Schenkar 297
  • Ntozake Shange 302
  • Anna Deavere Smith 307
  • Beverly Smith-Dawson 312
  • Diana Son 316
  • Split Britches 318
  • Caridad Svich 323
  • Regina Taylor 327
  • Carmelita Tropicana 330
  • Alice Tuan 334
  • Edit Villarreal 337
  • Paula Vogel 340
  • Lucy Wang 345
  • Cheryl L. West 349
  • Elizabeth Wong 353
  • Charlayne Woodard 356
  • Marian 358
  • Wakako Yamauchi 362
  • Shay Youngblood 366
  • Appendix A Playwrights by Cultural/Ethnic Grouping 371
  • Appendix B Additional Playwrights 375
  • Appendix C Nominators--Theatres 377
  • Appendix D Nominators--Individuals 379
  • Selected Bibliography 381
  • Index 385
  • About the Authors 400
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