PERFORMING ARTS

From Aphra Behn to Fun Home: A Cultural History of Feminist Theatre

Rowman & Littlefield. Dec. 2019. 210p. photos. notes. ISBN 9781538115251. $38; ebk. ISBN 9781538115268. THEATER
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Theater critic Purcell presents a survey-primer on the complicated relationship between feminism and the stage. The author begins with the Greeks but focuses mostly on second-wave feminism and the last 30 years of the U.S.-British theater industry, taking readers through a quick tour of figures, movements, artists, characters, and productions that have shaped and challenged the way Western culture regards women and feminism in theater. Loosely chronological chapters highlight key conversations, groups, and milestones in feminist theater. Fast paced and conversational, this title will please newcomers, though readers looking for depth on specific female playwrights, feminist plays, or the Aphra Behn era of cultural history may be left wanting more.
VERDICT A solid, accessible overview of feminist theater from a Western, mostly 20th-century perspective. Recommended as an introduction to the subject, or for general fans of cultural histories.

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