Feminist Drama & How I Learned to Drive

Report
Feminist Drama
&
How I Learned to
Drive
Week 12
段馨君 副教授
國立交通大學
人文社會學系
FEMINIST DRAMA
 In
1970, Kate Millet wrote the influential
Sexual Politics, which called attention to
gender bias in politics and in art.
 She illustrated ways of recognizing and
interpreting the “image of woman”in
literature written by men as misogynistic
and subversive to women’s interest.
FEMINIST DRAMA
 Sue-Ellen
Case, noted the absence of
women as playwrights and the biased
treatment of women as characters of
fiction and drama.
 Gertrude
Stein, a truly original writer,
experimented with language, syntax, and
musical forms.
GENDER, ART AND POLITICS
 The
consciousness of audiences and
readers about women’s lives, feelings,
needs and ambitions.
 Today’s feminist drama is a further
articulation of women’s viewpoints and
vew dramatic forms for mirroring the
special rhythms, emotions, and
experiences of women.
GENDER, ART AND POLITICS
 Marsha
Norman, Beth Henley, and Paula
Vogel emerged from the regional theaters
 Julie Bovasso, Maria Irene Fornes, Tina
Howe, and Suzan-Lori Parks came from
Off Off Broadway
 In their work, women’s biologism and
ssuch social issues as pedophilia, rape,
domestic violence, and discrimination
serve as ultimate signs of women’s
oppression and victimization by men.
GENDER, ART AND POLITICS
 Lesbian
feminism resists bothh patriarchy
and compulsory heterosexuality and
celebrates the lesbian experience and
perspective.
 This viewpoint also includes an
acknowledgement of the invisibility or
unmarked identity of women in modern
cultures and social groups.
FEMINIST THEORY
 The
feminist critics recognized today in
the US for their pioneering writing on
theater and performance are Sue-Ellen
Case, Gayle Austin, Lynda Hart, Jill Dolan,
Peggy Phelan, and Elin Diamond.
 In writing for the theater, feminist
playwrights introduced new subjects,
vocabularies, characters, forms and
alternative modes of perception.
FEMINIST PLAY STRUCTURE
 Feminist
play structure has a contiguous
organization characterized by nonlinear
narrative, fragmentary scenes, elliptical
forms, indirect dialogue, ambiguity rather
than clarity and interrupted rather than
completed action.
 Their experience of time and relationships
is one of constant interruption.
BACKGROUND
 Paula
Vogel's play How I Learned to Drive
opened in New York in February 1997. The
play concerns an affair between its
protagonist, named Li'l Bit, and her uncle
Peck.
 The affair takes place over the course of
years, with the character of Li'l Bit
maturing from age eleven to eighteen
before she puts an end to it.
BACKGROUND
 In
spite of the serious
situation, there are many
comical elements of the
play, which avoids the
expected condemnation
of this situation to look at
the basic humanity that
binds these two
characters.
BACKGROUND
 It
uses innovative staging techniques to
fade from one time frame to another and
one place to the next.
 It also uses just three actors, in addition to
those playing Li'l Bit and Peck, to
represent all of the other characters who
affect their lives, especially their quirky,
intimidating rural Maryland family.
CHARACTER
 Lil'
Bit
 Uncle Peck
 Lil' Bit's mother
 Lil' Bit's
grandmother
 Lil' Bit's grandfather
PLOT
 It
starts with Li'l Bit as an adult,
addressing the audience, as if she is giving
a lecture about how to drive.
 She describes Maryland during her youth
in the 1960s, and then the setting
dissolves into 1969, with her uncle Peck
sitting in a Buick Riviera. Seventeen-yearold Li'l Bit climbs in next to him.
PLOT
 He
takes the role of a child,
telling her that he has
been good, and she acts
like an authority figure to
him.
 When he says that he has
not had a drink all week,
she allows him the ‘‘small
reward'' of undoing her
bra. When they leave their
parking spot, Li'l Bit drives.
PLOT
 At
a family dinner in 1969, the
conversation focusing on the size of her
breasts is embarrassing to Li'l Bit.
 Her grandfather makes one wise crack
after another about her breasts being big,
until Li'l Bit flees the room for some
privacy.
 Peck is the one who follows her and
consoles her. Feeling better, Li'l Bit
arranges to meet him later that night.
PLOT
 Grown-up
Li'l Bit, as
narrator, explains to the
audience that she was
kicked out of school in
1970 for constant
drinking and then took a
job in a factory and spent
her nights drinking and
racing through the
streets in her car.
PLOT
 The
scene fades to Li'l Bit and Peck at an
inn far from home along the Maryland
shore in 1968 (a year before the family
dinner portrayed earlier).
 The occasion is a celebration of Li'l Bit
having received her driver's license. Peck,
who has had a drinking problem, does not
order a drink, but he tells Li'l Bit to have
one, even though she is only sixteen.
PLOT
 Li'l
Bit's mother shows up
at the side of the stage to
give the audience ‘‘A
mother's guide to social
drinking,’’ which includes
such advice as to eat
much bread and butter
and never to order sugary
"ladies'' drinks.
 Li' l bit orders a martini
and quickly becomes
drunk.
PLOT
 When
they leave, she is
hardly able to walk,
and she expects Peck to
try to take advantage of
her.
 She objects to their
relationship, and he
tells her not to worry,
that he is a man and
will not do anything
sexual until she wants
to.
FILM-CLIPS
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•
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Director: Rhodes students
Leading actor: Rhodes students
Year: 2009
Showing Part: several scenes from the
play
From 00:00 to 01:33
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnXhonUSLI
FILM-CLIPS
•
•
•
•
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Director: USC students
Leading actor: USC students
Year: 2008
Showing Part: Li’l Bit and her family
From 00:00 to 03:30
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnqd
DIWX5IA&feature=related
FILM-CLIPS
•
•
•
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Director: students from Indiana University
Department of Theatre and Drama
Leading actor: Indiana University students
Year: 2010
Showing Part: several scenes from the
play
From 00:00 to 01:49
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfs35S
EMWPE
FILM-CLIPS
•
•
•
•
•
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Director: Roberto Prestigiacomo
Leading actor: Pamela Roza, Matthew
Wright
Year: 2010
Showing Part: Li’l Bit and her uncle Peck
From 00:00 to 02:24
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T7X
1mobARE
ANALYSIS
 Paula
Vogel writes as a
radical feminist with
women as the center of
situatons that portray
the effects of male
dominatino and abusive
behavior toward
women.
 Focus Vogel’s twin
themes of incest and
pedophilia, which drive
the play.
ANALYSIS
 Vogel’s
nonlinear narrative is madeup of
nineteen scenes that portray the sexual
initiation of Li’l Bit.
 Li’l Bit’s family and friends form the
backdrop to explaiin her socially
conditioned responses to her sexual
initiation by an adult relative.
ANALYSIS
 The
story’s
complexity is
enlarged by Peck,
whose personal
history is that of
pedophile, voyeur,
and sexual deviant.
ANALYSIS
 The
play is framed
by Li’l Bit’s two
monologues, which
set the emotional
and physical
landscape for the
adolescent’s sexual
molestation.
ANALYSIS
 Li’l
Bit’s unspoken lesson is the residual
effects, twenty years later, of her sevenyear sexual molestation during her
formative adolescent years.
ANALYSIS
 The
final scene suggests that Li’l Bit can’t
fully escape the consequences of her
abusive past. She has been damaged but
she can come to an understanding of her
relationship with Peck.
 As she works toward finding selfforgiveness, understanding and peace,
she is effectively getting on with her life.
REFERENCE
http://www.enotes.com/how-learned-drive/themes
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_I_Learned_to_Drive
 http://www.bookrags.com/lens/go.php?u=How_I_Learn
ed_to_Drive
 http://theater.nytimes.com/mem/theater/treview.html?
res=9807E3DB1138F93AA2575AC0A961958260


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