This book rediscovers the work of a gifted playwright and lesbian rights icon.With the publication of six plays by the uninhibited author, poet, and playwright Mercedes de Acosta (1893-1968), theater historian Robert A. Schanke has rescued these lost theatrical writings from the dusty margins of obscurity. Often autobiographical, always rife with gender struggle, and still decidedly stageworthy, ""Women in Turmoil: Six Plays by Mercedes de Acosta"" constitutes a significant find for the canon of gay and lesbian drama.The voice in these plays is that of a woman in turmoil, marginalized and ignored. Her same-sex desires and struggles for acceptance fueled her writings, and nowhere is that more evident than in the plays contained in this book. The women in these plays struggle with unfulfilling marriages, divorce, unrequited sexual desire, suppressed identity, and a longing for recognition.What notoriety remains associated with de Acosta has less to do with her writing than with her infamous romances with the likes of Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Isadora Duncan, Alla Nazimova, Eva Le Gallienne, Tamara Karsavina, Pola Negri, and Ona Munson. Through this collection of six powerfully poignant dramas, editor Robert A. Schanke strives to correct myths about Mercedes de Acosta and to restore both her name and her literary achievements to their proper place in history.
Robert A. Schanke is a professor emeritus of theater at Central College, Iowa. His nine other books include "That Furious Lesbian": The Story of Mercedes de Acosta; Angels in the American Theater: Patrons, Patronage, and Philanthropy; and Shattered Applause: The Lives of Eva Le Gallienne. He is editor of the Southern Illinois University Press series Theater in the Americas.