Date of Award

Winter 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Theatre & Dance

First Advisor

Bud Coleman

Second Advisor

Oliver Gerland

Third Advisor

Deepti Misri

Fourth Advisor

Scarlet Bowen

Fifth Advisor

James Symons


This dissertation investigates American contemporary plays wherein the interaction of male and female characters generates queer states that break away from the conventions of previous gay drama. This study attends to three major contemporary topics that have received insufficient attention in theatrical scholarship: post-gay drama, queer subjectivity, and the role of female characters in queer plays. Post-gay drama emerged in the 1990s as a category related to and yet distinct from both Gay Pride and AIDS drama. In these plays, depictions of non-normative sexuality move beyond same-sex eroticism. This study seeks to address several key questions regarding the vitality and importance of theatre scholarship to contemporary criticism: how do women and gay men, two historically marginalized "Others," interact in post-gay drama to generate radical queer subjectivities? What particular aspects of gender difference facilitate these subjectivities? How do these plays use dramatic techniques and theatrical fantasia to imagine queer life beyond identity politics and struggle? How might the innovations represented in these plays be applied to additional areas of inquiry regarding other intersecting oppressions, such as race, age, ability, and ethnicity? The hypothesis of this study is that a close examination of these plays will reveal the multivalent character of female/male relationships in post-gay drama, demonstrating that not only is queer subjectivity complicated on the contemporary stage but that men, women, and the way that they affect each other as sexual and desirous beings is equally complicated.