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Signs of Life
Six Comedies of Menace
Joan M. Schenkar




Wesleyan
1997 • 302 pp. 16 illus. 6 1/8 x 9 1/4"
Theater & Performing Arts / Women's Studies

$24.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6323-1
$19.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7237-0

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

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"Dazzling disruptions of the language. Schenkar's comic instincts are splendidly liberating: her passion is spoken subtext, catching characters in the dark middle of their debased imaginations." —Village Voice

A stunning collection of Schenkar’s unsettling and unnervingly funny plays available for the first time.

Joan Schenkar, widely regarded as America's most original female contemporary playwright, is the author of numerous experimental plays which she refers to as "comedies of menace." Bristling with wit and intelligence, the collection features Signs of Life, Cabin Fever, The Universal Wolf, Burning Desires, The Last of Hitler, and Fulfilling Koch's Postulate. These plays explore issues of feminism and gender politics, history and memory, sexuality and violence, bringing to life such figures as Gertrude Stein and Marlene Dietrich, Hitler and Eva Braun, P. T. Barnum and Henry and Alice James, Claude Levi-Strauss and Roland Barthes. Schenkar's charged language and evocative stage directions invite the reader to become both performer and audience, and the experience is enhanced both by richly evocative stage directions and illustrations from productions of the plays. Initially written to be read like novels as well as staged, the plays provide a unique theatrical experience, an experience that can only be accessed by laughter.

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Reviews / Endorsements

"Dazzling disruptions of the language. Schenkar's comic instincts are splendidly liberating: her passion is spoken subtext, catching characters in the dark middle of their debased imaginations." —Village Voice

"The hysterical humour and macabre logic of a nightmare crossed with a comic strip. A distinctly unenglish, horrifying, funny, and very very weird evening."—Lyn Gardner, City Limits (London)

"Schenkar, a relentless intellect, has stayed true to her dark vision, her 'comedy of menace.' She is writing challenging, provocative plays and is giving no quarter to easy answers or mass popularity."—Seattle Post Intelligencer

"There are more than signs of life or burning desires in these plays. With an alarmingly bright imagination, Schenkar is surely one of the most intelligent, historically informed, even learned people writing for our theater--which has, perhaps, never been intelligent enough to sufficiently accommodate writers with her menacing gifts."—Herbert Blau, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee



JOAN SCHENKAR’s plays have been produced in theaters and festivals around the globe and widely reviewed both here and abroad. She has received numerous grants and awards for playwriting and has been guest artist in many colleges and universities throughout the US. Vivian Patraka is Director of the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society at Bowling Green State University, coauthor of Sam Shepard (1985) and coeditor of Feminist Re-Visions (1983).



Sat, 15 Apr 2017 16:03:10 -0500