Contemporary Stage Roles for Women: A Descriptive Catalogue

Contemporary Stage Roles for Women: A Descriptive Catalogue

Contemporary Stage Roles for Women: A Descriptive Catalogue

Contemporary Stage Roles for Women: A Descriptive Catalogue

Synopsis

"This catalog could assist directors, actresses, producers, and feminists who want to monitor how women are portrayed in the theater. For almost any drama or women's collection." Reference Books Bulletin

Excerpt

Women drawn to perform in the theater have been handicapped for centuries. In Shakespeare's time, women were not even allowed on the stage. In the 19th century, women well established in the theater resorted to playing male roles for want of interesting female roles. Lack of rewarding roles remains a problem today. The typical part available is as somebody's sweetheart, somebody's wife, somebody's mother, or a prostitute; the female being defined in terms of a major male character. Opportunities for a woman to play a central character are rare.

Liberalized attitudes about women have been reflected recently in television and film scripts and a renaissance is beginning with women increasing their authority in all walks of life. But the stage repertory, being a collection of plays written over a long period of time, lags behind. Good material for the stage is being written but is slow to reach the public. The goal of this work is to spotlight published, accessible plays with strong female roles, expose these valuable resources to performers, and, through increased use, encourage publication of more plays that meet the needs of women.

Female Stereotypes

The tools of a musician are her instrument and the repertoire written for that instrument. If, for instance, her instrument is the flute, she will have as the tools of her trade her instrument and all the music that has been written for it. If a woman chooses acting as her form of expression, the tools of her trade are her body, voice, face, and the dramatic roles that have been written for women.

When a woman begins her search for roles to play, she will find, first, that there are half as many female parts as male parts from which to choose. Second, most of the roles she finds will be negative cultural stereotypes:

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