Drama as Woman's Work: Contemporary Female Playwrights

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Northest MLA Convention

The most influential playwrighting voices of the current century writing in English are women. Dramatists like Suzan-Lori Parks, Annie Baker, Sara Ruhl, Katori Hall, Marina Carr, and many others are generating increasingly vigorous critical and scholarly debate while also winning major playwrighting awards for moving the form in ambitious new directions. This panel will examine a selection of these voices, querying what is distinctive about the contemporary female playwright. What exactly does it mean to be a "female playwright," and how might that category enrich, limit, or challenge our understanding of important contemporary plays? What is distinct about the aesthetic gaze of female playwrights, and how does this concept complicate an understanding of contemporary drama's social and political critique? How do contemporary female playwrights at once embrace and depart from the playwrighting tradition of which they are inescapably a part? To what extent do discourses of feminism help us understand the form and content of plays by contemporary female playwrights? The session's goal is to encourage fresh scholarship on living, active female playwrights in order to meet the challenge of a vibrant aesthetic field.

Please submit 250- to 500-word abstracts along with brief biographical statements by September 30 at the NeMLA Website (https://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/participate/submit.html). Please direct any inquiries to Patrick Maley at maleyp@centenarycollege.edu