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|Title:||Dangerous Boys and City Pleasure: Subversions of Gender and Desire in the Boy Actor's Theatre|
|Department:||English and Cultural Studies|
|Keywords:||English Language and Literature;English Language and Literature|
|Abstract:||<p>This thesis draws on the works of Will Fisher, Lucy Munro, Michael Shapiro, and other critics who have written on the boy actor on the early modem English stage. Focussing on city comedies performed by children's companies, it argues that the boy actor functions as a kind of "third gender" that exceeds gender binaries, and interrogates power hierarchies built on those gender binaries (including marriage).</p> <p>The boy actor is neither man nor woman, and does not have the confining social responsibilities of either. This thesis argues that the boy's voice, his behaviours, and his epicene body are signifiers of his joyous and unconfined social position. Reading the boy actor as a metaphor for the city itself, it originally argues that the boy's innocence enables him to participate in the games, merriment, and general celebration of carnival, while his ability to slip fluidly between genders, ages, and other social roles enables him to participate in and embody the productively disruptive carnival, parodic, and "epicene" spaces of the city itself. In these spaces, when gender and age expectations are temporarily overthrown, individual bodies can desire, dress, and perform however they want.</p> <p>In persistently recognising the boy actor's metabolic ability to metamorphose its gender according to his own, or the individual spectator's desire, and in so doing to explore alternative modes of living and structuring families and other social relationships in the city, Amends for Ladies, Epicoene, The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Eastward Hoi, Ram Alley, and Bartholomew Fair offer strategies by which individual bodies in the audience can pursue their own individual alternative modes of living in the city.</p> <p>I am extremely grateful to my supervisory committee, Doctors Helen Ostovich, Melinda Gough, and Gena Zuroski Jenkins, for their careful reading (and re-reading) of various drafts, and for the swift and thorough commentary that accompanied each reading. Without their assistance, this project would have far less focus, and far more errors. I am particularly thankful for Dr Ostovich's guidance in my consideration of performance practices and interpretation, and for Dr Gough's always helpful recommendations of critical material throughout the year. I am also grateful to Jesse Arseneault, Brandon Kerfoot, Stephanie Leach, and Mathew Martin, who were always willing to read over paragraphs, and who not only listened to me talk nigh-endlessly about boy actors but also provided me with coffee as I did so.</p> <p>"A thankful [wo]man owes a courtesy ever"!</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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