Violence, Women, and the Stage
Did you read this 2/24 NYT article “Violence that Art Didn’t See Coming”, which was inspired by Alabama Neuroscience Professor Amy Bishop’s recent opening of fire on 6 colleagues that resulted in the death of 3? If you didn’t, you should because it provides a fairley extensive and interesting scan of the way violent/criminal women have been depicted (or not) in/by various media over the past century.
What’s also noteworthy is that the author Sam Tanenhaus considers everything from television and film to novels (including crime fiction by women and about women) and avant-garde performance art, but Tanenhaus DOES NOT address stage explorations of women and violence.
So let’s do it. Let’s name some plays that contain violent, murderous and/or criminal(minded) women.
And in these plays, is the malevolent woman a central or minor character, and how do things end for her…is she reformed, forgiven, punished, imprisoned, murdered, etc.? Does she commit foul acts onstage or off? Does the play call for graphic depiction of violence, blood, etc., or is it benign? Let’s see where the stage stands in relation to Tanenhaus’ argument, which by the way (in case you didn’t or don’t plan to read it) is that “Art” has failed to accurately depict the scope of real life crime/violence committed by women. Discuss.
Oh, and I’ll start us off with a few plays, old and obvious ones: Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Euripides’ Medea.
On a Lighter Note…
Because Friday is a Fun Day, below is a clip of a May ’09 British TV interview with Tom Hanks, in which he sings “Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop,” the childhood rap in Big. (Clip is 3 mins., ff to 1 min. mark to hear the rap)