THR 233 Queer Theatre (WGS)

This Special Topics course will examine the beginnings of the Queer Theatre movement in the
United States, from the call for visibility to the onset of the AIDS crises through social panic and
the resulting discrimination. Contemporary Queer Theatre focuses less on the AIDS crisis and
more on the social and political struggles of civil rights as a result of the AIDS crisis and the
question of civil liberties.

The class will analyze the writings of Larry Kramer, Tony Kushner, Terrance McNally, Naomi
Wallace, Lisa Kron, among others. We will begin to develop a working understanding of how
the Queer Theatre Movement that grew out of the splintering of the American Theatre, and has
shifted from crisis response to the call "to plot the course of political and cultural change."
(Michael Billington)

"The term gay drama, which typically refers to plays written by or about homosexuals, was
coined in the mid-twentieth century in the same period various other marginalized groups –
women, African-Americans, Latinos – similarly sought liberation from oppressive social
constrains denying opportunity and equality for the demographic within American life. That the
earliest serious homosexual-themed plays – or plays with prominent gay characters – were, in
essence, pleas for tolerance is thus not surprising." (James Fischer, from We Will Be Citizens:
New Essays on Gay and Lesbian Theatre)


1 Course Credit