Women in Turmoil (Theater in the Americas Third Edition)

Women in Turmoil (Theater in the Americas Third Edition)

By: Mercedes de Acosta (author), Robert A. Schanke (volume_editor)Hardback

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In this first publication of six plays by the uninhibited author, poet, and playwright Mercedes de Acosta (1893-1968), theater historian Robert A. Schanke rescues lost theatrical writings from the dusty margins of obscurity. Often autobiographical, always rife with gender struggle, and 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 lesbian in turmoil, marginalized and ignored. The women characters struggle with unfulfilling marriages, divorce, unrequited sexual desire, suppressed identity, and a longing for recognition. Of the six plays, only the first two were ever produced. Jehanne d'Arc (1922) premiered in Paris with de Acosta's lover at the time, Eva Le Gallienne, starring and Norman Bel Geddes designing the set and lights. In 1934m de Acosta adapted it into a screemplay for Greta Garbo, then her lover, but it was never filmed. Portraying rampant anti-Semitism in a small New England town, Jacob Slovak (1923) was performed both on Broadway and in London, with the London production starring John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson. The Mother of Christ (1924) is a long one-act play written for the internationally known actress Eleonora Duse. After Duse's death, several other actresses including Eva Bartok, Jeanne Eagels, and Lillian Gish explored productions of the play. Igor Stravinsky wrote a score, Norman Bel Geddes designed a set, and Gladys Calthrop designed costumes. However, the play was never produced. World Without End (1925) and The Dark Light (1926) both unfold through plots of sibling rivalry, incest, and suicide. With overtones of Ibsen, Illusion (1928) continues the themes of de Acosta's previous plays with her rough and seedy cast of characters, but here the playwright's drama grows to incorporate both a yearning for belonging as well as strong elements of class conflict.

About Author

Robert A. Schanke is a professor of theater at Central College, Iowa. He is the editor of the international journal Theatre History Studies and the Southern Illinois University Press series Theater in the Americas. His five other books include Eva Le Gallienne: A Bio-Bibliography and Shattered Applause: The Lives of Eva Le Gallienne, a finalist for both the Lambda Literary Award and the Barnard Hewitt Award for theater research.


Jehanne d'Arc; ""Jacob Slovak""; ""The Mother of Christ""; ""World Without End""; ""The Dark Light""; ""Illusion"".

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780809325092
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 272
  • ID: 9780809325092
  • ISBN10: 0809325098
  • edition: Third Edition

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