Though comic women have existed since the days of Baubo, the mythic figure who used sexual humor to lift the veil of mourning from the goddess Demeter's eyes, they have been neglected by scholars and critics. This pioneering volume tells the stories of five women who have created revolutionary forms of comic performance and discourse that defy the flagrant prejudices about women and feminists.
The artists include 16th-century performer Isabella Andreini, 17th-century improviser Catherine Biancolelli, 20th-century Italian playwright Franca Rame, and contemporary performance artists Deb Margolin and Kimberly Dark. All create humor that subverts patriarchal modes of representation, conventional notions of gender roles, and stereotypical images of women. Closing with a practical guide for performers and teachers of theater, this work illustrates the life-affirming possibilities of creating empowered communities and initiating social change through comedy, laughter, and feminist humor.
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