Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Theatre & Dance

First Advisor

Bud Coleman

Second Advisor

Erika Randall

Third Advisor

Emmanuel David

Abstract

This thesis is an exploration of drag king performance through the lens of third wave feminism and Camp performance mechanisms. The term drag king refers to any person, usually female, that is making a performance of masculinity using costume, makeup and gesture. Camp is defined as an ever-changing system of humor and queer parody that works to subvert hegemonic cultural structures in an effort to gain queer visibility. Drag king Camp is posited as a theatrical mechanism that works to reveal maleness and masculinity as a performative act, therefore destabilizing the gender binary, and simultaneously revealing alternative conceptions of femininity. Drag king performance will be theorized in five sections. The Introduction will contextualize drag king performance as a subversive queer performance form. Chapter 1 will give an overview of the history of female cross-dressing on theatrical stages, including the development of contemporary drag king performance. Three types of drag king Camp will be introduced: Pond Scum Camp, Marginal Male Camp, and Celebrity Camp. In Chapter 2, the term Camp will be defined and explained in terms of its relation to feminist theatre. Finally, Chapter 3 will build a framework based on feminist theatre scholarship and third wave feminist scholarship in order to situate the use of drag king Camp as destabilizing the gender binary and revealing multiple femininities. The conclusion will situate drag king performance as a form of cultural performance, engaged in an ongoing challenge to hegemonic cultural structures.

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