Friday, June 19, 2009

Now playing: North American Women's Drama

North American Women's Drama is another one of our new databases from Alexander Street Publishing. This resource should be of particular interest to our Gender Studies students as well as our Theatre students, especially when you consider the questions put forth by scholars Helen Krich Chinoy and Linda Walsh Jenkins in Women in American Theatre (cited in the database): Is there a feminine sensibility in theatre, and if so, is it the result of nature or nurture? Do female directors approach their tasks in a different way from male directors? Do women playwrights have something to say as women, not just as individual artists?

This database contains more than 1,500 plays by more than 300 playwrights. Over 30% of the plays are published here for the first time (bringing to mind another question: are women and their achievements underrepresented in the theatre)? The collection starts with colonial playwrights Mercy Otis Warren and Susanna Haswell Rowson and continues up to the present, with such luminaries as Beth Henly, Marsha Norma, Susan Glaspell, Gertrude Stein, Zora Neale Hurston, Susan Sontag and Nora Ephron, among others. Like Alexander Street's other drama databases, it includes detailed production information as well as posters, playbills and other ephemera. Brava.

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