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Staging the female: studies in female space in Euripides

Skouroumouni, A.; (2011) Staging the female: studies in female space in Euripides. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The words of Medea or Alcestis may be the only thing we are left with. Yet it was not the only means Euripides had at his disposal to render them onstage; his dramatic toolkit included spatial staging. This aspect of his dramaturgy provides the lens through which I explore Euripidean tragedy and Euripidean females. The tragic female has been studied in depth in past and more recent scholarship, with vital insights gained. Nevertheless, what previous scholarship has rarely considered in any detail is the physical representation of the female (the particularities of her postures, movement, physical action and interaction) in physical and imagined dramatic space (what I term ‘female space’). My focus, both performative and gendered, falls on the staging techniques defining the female, explored against the background of fifth-century cultural values of original spectators. By combining analysis of theatrical features with readings of Euripidean females and plays, the thesis engages in a process of visualising female physicality in interactive theatrical space and exploring its thematic significance in the construction of character, theme, and action. An introductory chapter delineates my conceptual and methodological framework (theoretical background, approach, terms). Three case studies constitute the three main chapters: Helen, Iphigenia Taurica, and Andromache. In each of the chosen dramas, the female is placed away from home and homeland: in Helen and IT the Greek woman is displaced in foreign lands, in Andromache the non-Greek is transported into Greece. Dislocation to alien environments is the extreme form of the theatrical challenge to the female spatial experience; hence the need (and the choice) for special investigation. The examination of the different ways in which aspects of female experience are (literally) played out allows us to evaluate Euripides’ skill as writer and director from a new perspective.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Staging the female: studies in female space in Euripides
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Greek and Latin

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