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Fornes: Theater in the Present Tense (Theater: Theory/Text/Performance) Hardcover – October 23, 1996
"Finally, a worthwhile, in-depth, insightful study of the work of this leading contemporary American dramatist. . . . Maria Irene Fornes's explorations of political, feminist, and absurdist theater emerge as striking elements in production, but Moroff transcends strictly literary analyses to arrive at crucial issues dealing with the exploration of subjectivity, social relations, language, and representation. . . . This volume will be particularly important for practitioners and researchers interested in cultural studies, American theater, and women's studies." -- E. C. Ramirez, Choice, April 1997
"The trick in appraising Fornes is in developing a narrative/analytical voice which preserves the erratic rhythms of the texts themselves. [Moroff's book] break[s] ground in [its attempt] to sustain these strange pleasures over several linked chapters. . . . [Moroff's] concluding chapter suggests a self-consciousness about the boundaried position of text in relation to performance. She offers the image of the 'palimpsest,' a haunted canvas which compels the trace-seeking gaze of the viewer. This new figure at the end of the study not only refers to Fornes's own scenic designs, but works like Fornes's infamous violent endings: it offers a new 'way out,' a new image for the onlooker to make of what she will. Overall, this book locates many points of looking, onstage and off, from which readers and spectators can rediscover Fornes's theatrical figures." -- Beth Cleary, Theatre Journal, March 1998
From the Back Cover
This book is the first full-length study of Maria Irene Fornes' plays. It begins with an overview of Fornes' thirty years in theater, focusing on the reception of her plays, the range of critical response, and provides an introduction to Fornes' theatrical philosophies. Ensuing chapters explore the metatheatrical characteristics of Fornes' earlier work from the 1960s, the representation of female subjectivity, theater as metaphor and context, art as ritual, and the role of the spectator, primarily through critical analysis of her plays of the 1970s and 1980s. The book concludes with an examination of the sexualization of character in Fornes' most recent plays, a theme that pervades much of her work. Directors, actors, and students of contemporary theater, and specifically of women's theater, will find this book not only an informative critique of Fornes, but a sourcebook for accessible interpretations of her complex theatrical texts.
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