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Closeted Autobiographer

Title: The Closeted Autobiographer: Feminism, Religion, and Queerness in the Unstaged Closet Dramas of Djuna Barnes.
Name(s): Andrews, Marisa M. (Marisa Martha), author
Osborne, Elizabeth A., 1977-, professor directing thesis
Dahl, Mary Karen, 1945-, committee member
McKelvey, Patrick T., committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Fine Arts, degree granting college
School of Theatre, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Master Thesis
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2018
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (70 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Throughout her time as a member of the famed Provincetown Players, for which she penned three successful plays, playwright Djuna Barnes simultaneously wrote twelve short closet dramas, none of which saw the light of the stage. Despite the fact that they were officially republished in the 1995 anthology At the Roots of The Stars: The Short Plays, edited by Douglass Messerli, scholarly criticism on these fascinatingly weird plays is all but non-existent. With this gap in mind, in this thesis I analyze two of these short closet dramas: A Passion Play (1918), published in Others magazine, and Madame Collects Herself (1918), published in Parisienne. These two plays, read in conversation with the rest of Barnes’s work throughout the 1910s, crystalize the intersecting issues of gender, sexuality, and religion, which also have significant connections to the rest of Barnes’s canon. In this thesis, I address the following questions: How do these plays fit into the Barnes canon? What might their texts reveal as standalone works of closet drama? What might they reveal about the work and lives of women playwrights in the United States in the early 20th century? While there are many ways in which to approach these texts, I have specifically chosen the dual methodologies of Jill Dolan and Nick Salvato. Utilizing Jill Dolan’s latest book Wendy Wasserstein, a critical biography of the highly acclaimed second-wave feminist playwright, and Nick Salvato’s Uncloseting Drama: American Modernism and Queer Performance, I will combine two seemingly disparate methodological processes to form an analysis of these plays for the first time. Following the introductory chapter, chapter two will explore A Passion Play, a short drama that looks into the final night of sexual encounters between two prostitutes and the other two men hung on crosses alongside Jesus Christ during the Passion. In this chapter, I explore Barnes’s personal articulation of the binary (or lack thereof) of good and evil. Chapter three explores Madame Collects Herself, a gruesome, five-page comedy that takes place in a hair salon. I argue that Madame Collects Herself builds on the religious, sexual, and feminist themes found in A Passion Play, suggesting that Barnes’s closet dramas both serve as early examples of Barnes’s creative work and operate as intriguing examples of her interest in de-marginalizing those who were often seen as other.
Identifier: 2018_Su_Andrews_fsu_0071N_14738 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to the School of Theatre in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Degree Awarded: Summer Semester 2018.
Date of Defense: May 7, 2018.
Keywords: 20th Century Drama, American Theatre History, Closet Drama, Djuna Barnes, Provincetown Players
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Elizabeth A. Osborne, Professor Directing Thesis; Mary Karen Dahl, Committee Member; Patrick McKelvey, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Theater -- History
United States -- History
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Andrews, M. M. (M. M. ). (2018). The Closeted Autobiographer: Feminism, Religion, and Queerness in the Unstaged Closet Dramas of Djuna Barnes. Retrieved from