Sarah Ruhl is one of the most highly-acclaimed and frequently-produced American playwrights of the 21st century. Author of eighteen plays and the essay collection 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write, she has won a MacArthur “Genius” Grant and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, been nominated for a Tony Award for In the Next Room or the vibrator play and twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for The Clean House and In the Next Room.
Ruhl is a writer unafraid of the soul. She writes not about “this or that issue,” but “about being,” creating plays that ask “big questions about death, love, and how we should treat each other in this lifetime.” In this volume, Amy Muse situates Ruhl as an artist-thinker and organizes her work around its artistic and ethical concerns. Through a finely-grained account of each play, readers are guided through Ruhl's early influences, the themes of intimacy, transcendence, and communion, and her inventive stagecraft to dramatize “moments of being” onstage. Enriched by essays from scholars Jill Stevenson, Thomas Butler, and Christina Dokou, an interview with directors Sarah Rasmussen and Hayley Finn, and a chronology of Ruhl's life and work, this is a companionable guide for students of American drama and theatre studies.
Amy Muse specializes in dramatic literature and performance studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she is Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department. She is the author of “Sarah Ruhl's Sex Ed for Grownups” (Text & Presentation 2013) and essays on Romantic drama, intimate theatre, female Hamlets, and travel in Romantic Circles, Romanticism: The Jourbanal of Romantic Culture & Criticism, Frontiers, and other jourbanals.
METHUEN DRAMA CRITICAL COMPANIONS
Series Editors: Patrick Lonergan (National University of Ireland, Galway)
and Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr. (Loyola Marymount University, USA)
About the Author
Amy Muse is associate professor and Chair of the English Department at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.
Table of Contents
1 “What aesthetic form might consciousness take?”
The Lady with the Lap Dog and Anna Around the Neck
2 “I like plays that have revelations in the moment, where emotions transform almost inexplicably”
Demeter in the City
Scenes from Court Life or the whipping boy and his prince
3 “Getting in the same room is kind of the dream”
The Clean House
Late: A Cowboy Song
Dead Man's Cell Phone
In the Next Room or the vibrator play
4 “I'm interested in those more invisible terrains”
The Oldest Boy
For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday
How to Transcend a Happy Marriage
5 Directing Sarah Ruhl
An interview with Sarah Rasmussen and Hayley Finn
6 Other Critical Perspectives
Sarah Ruhl's Passion Play and Contemporary Expressions of Medieval Performance
Jill Stevenson, Marymount Manhattan College, USA.
Arrested Dev-elopement: Myth-Understanding Father-Daughter Love in Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice
Christina Dokou, University of Athens, Greece.
From Pontius Pilate to Peter Pan: Lightness in the Plays of Sarah Ruhl
Thomas Butler, Eastern Kentucky University, USA.
Notes and References
Notes on Contributors