Lecture: The Female Dramatist
In her groundbreaking book, The Female Dramatist, Partnow gives voice to the lives and works from ten centuries of women playwrights around the world--from nuns to freedom fighters, from the Renaissance to Victorian cross dressers, from the West End and Broadway to seminal works of the avant-garde. Now Elaine brings these voices to you in person as she retells how these playwrights struggled against those who would suppress, ignore, and patronize them, to take their place upon the stages of the world. With a slide show of their many faces, and a time line placing them in context with their better known male counterparts, Elaine examines women as diverse as:
- Caryl Churchill (1938- ): A major English playwright known for her use of non-naturalistic techniques and feminist themes. Awards include Obie Awards, 1982, 1983, and 1988 and the Society of West End Theatre Award, 1988.
- Hanna Cowley (1743-1809): One of the most memorable playwrights of the late 18th century, this Englishwoman had a knack for comic characters. She was also a poet.
- Rachel Crothers (1878-1958): Playwright, stage director, and community activist, she was the founder of the Stage Relief Fund (1932) and the American Theater Wing for War Relief (1940); she organized Stage Door Canteen, NY (1945). She is the recipient of a National Achievement Award, 1938.
- Maria Irene FornÚs (1930- ): This Cuban-born American playwright became a pivotal figure in both Hispanic-American and experimental theater, winning nine Obies.
- Griselda Gambaro (1928- ): Argentinean playwright and novelist; winner of the Premio del Fondo Nacional de las Artes de la Argentina (1963) and the Premio Emece.
- Hroswitha of Gandersheim (935?1000): The earliest woman poet of the middle ages whose works are preserved, first playwright and first female poet of Germany.
- Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) Noted more for her poetry than her plays, Millay nonetheless wrote several, some in verse, and participated in the famed Provincetown Players.
- Franca Rame (1928- ): Wife of the Nobel prize-winning Italian playwright Dario Fo, Frame is a playwright and theatrician who co-founded several notable theater companies: La Compagnia Dario Fo-Franca Rame (1959), Nuovo Scene (1968), and Il Collectivo Teatrale La Comune (1970).
- Efua Sutherland (1924- ): Playwright and all round theatrician, this Ghanian is the founder of experimental theater group Accra (1958; became Ghana Drama Studio); founder, Ghana Society of Writers (now the Writer's Workshop in the Institute of African Studies, Univ. of Ghana, Legion); founder, Kusum Sgoromba (children's theater group).
- Megan Terry (1932- ): Internationally noted and prolific, American playwright Terry was granted a lifetime membership in the College of Fellows of the American Theatre in 1994.
- Hella Wuolijoki (1886-1954): At a time when it was highly unusual, this Finn juggled a business career, her playwrighting, and her political activism. She is noted for her five-play cycle about Finnish farm life.
Ms. Partnow also uses her acting craft to dramatize select passages from some of their works.