Carry on Understudies: Theatre and Sexual Politics by Michelene Wandor PDF
By Michelene Wandor
`one hell of a seminal learn ... here's a publication that grapples, with strength, ingenuity and tremendous highbrow rigour, with a bewildering wooded area of matters round gender and politics ... illuminating, insightful, perceptive.' - Women's overview
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It developed from four sources: (1) A further development of feminist agitprop, emerging from the early street theatre. (2) From within the professional theatre. (3) From Theatre-in-Education. (4) From the impact of feminism on socialist companies. 38 THE FIRST PHASE: 1969–73 The Women’s Street Theatre Group formed during the summer of 1970. Their first main event was at the demonstration to celebrate International Women’s Day on 6 March 1971. The group danced along with the marchers, through a spring snow-shower in London, while a record player in a pram played ‘Keep Young and Beautiful’.
There is the obvious point that both kinds of representation suffer from a history of taboos of different kinds: in many Western countries women were forbidden to act on the ‘respectable’ stage until a mere 400 years ago. Gay men and women have always worked in theatre (as in other industries) but the taboos against the public recognition of homosexuality has meant that their relationship to their work has always had something of a covert nature. Different theatrical conventions have contained within them the signs of these constraints and taboos, often to the point of a new kind of erotic stimulus.
The very day-today currency of ordinary conversation assumes that the male pronoun ‘he’ will stand for the universal experience, and that the subject matter for culture and art is always seen from the point of view of the male protagonist(s). Feminism, then, challenges a number of assumptions about women and men: (a) that men are the centre of the universe; (b) that women are secondary and dependent on men; (c) that the social/sexual division of labour is ‘natural’ and unchanging. At the beginning of the 1970s the Women’s Liberation Movement set great store by the process of consciousnessraising, where small groups of women met, and in an informal atmosphere discovered and began to understand the nature of an oppression which permeates the most private emotions as well as the more easily identifiable political arenas such as equal pay.
Carry on Understudies: Theatre and Sexual Politics by Michelene Wandor