Act Like a Man: Challenging Masculinities in American Drama by Robert Vorlicky

By Robert Vorlicky

How males converse with one another on degree whilst no ladies are present--and what it tells us approximately strength and gender

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Additional info for Act Like a Man: Challenging Masculinities in American Drama

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He distinguishes his subject position from all Others (who, to him, are women, unmasculine men, and men of color). Like the phoenix, Roma is determined to rise from the rubble that signals the demise of other less shrewd businessmen. He, after all, never loses faith in his ability-in his power-to exploit anyone at any time. This is his right, he assumes, within the capitalist system his actions help to perpetuate. This is his right, Roma demonstrates, as a male in American culture. Roma's lust for material success is 25 ACT LIKE A MAN matched by his belief in the rewards extended to a male for having done well at his job-a success that is determined by the American masculine ethos and perpetuated through familiar male mytholo- gies.

If and when a more personal text is created, however, it usually surfaces as they get drunk or drugged, or find their lives immi- nently threatened. This latter condition recalls Carol Rosen's defini- tion of American plays of impasse set in confining institutions. My third chapter, "Liberation in Confinement," focuses on the dis- course coherence established in the predominantly straight world of David Rabe's military play, Streamers (1977) and Miguel Pifiero's prison play, Short Eyes (1975), as well as the gay milieu of Robin Swados's AIDS hospice play, A Quiet End (1991).

Chap- ter 2, "Silence, Violence, and the Drama of Abuse," discusses three dramaturgically significant male-cast plays that derive their uncon- ventional structures and content by isolating the dynamic of unco- operative communication: Eugene O'Neill's Hughie (1959), Amiri Baraka's (formerly LeRoi Jones) The Toilet (1963), and Edward Albee's The Zoo Story (1960). For the characters in these three works (and in most male-cast plays as well), uncooperative commu- 18 GENDER, STRUCTURE, AND DIALOGUE nication occurs primarily when speakers and listeners are unwill- ing or unable to create a shared text by engaging either social or personal dialogue.

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Act Like a Man: Challenging Masculinities in American Drama by Robert Vorlicky
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