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The Absence of Female Jewish Characters on the Post-War English Stage: Thesis and Three Plays

PASCAL, Julia (2016) The Absence of Female Jewish Characters on the Post-War English Stage: Thesis and Three Plays. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis examines representations of Jewish women on the British stage from 1945 to the present. I interrogate the lack of varied and realistic Jewish women characters in the canon and discuss this in relationship to my own published and performed plays. The absence of Jewish women in British modern theatre is explored historically and as a phenomenon influenced by both Christian and Jewish traditions. My research probes how stereotypes from Christian medieval tropes have been transformed and re-awoken, particularly since the 1980s, and how this has impacted the representation of Jewish women. I highlight the importance of Yiddish theatre as a dynamic space where Jewish women’s representation broke the rule of exclusion from public performance and offered a variety of complicated and complex roles on the international stage. The thesis examines the post-war loss of Yiddish theatre and the Yiddish language, and the subsequent effect on the development of Jewish female dramatic characterisation onstage. I reveal the vacuum left with the death of Yiddish, and how with the destruction of the language and culture, the representation of a variety of Jewish women’s roles, created by the Yiddishists, was forgotten and lost to subsequent generations. Post-war playwrights are discussed to explore modern female Jewish characters that have been produced for the English stage. The creation of Anne Frank, as a dramatic figure, is examined to understand how the adaptation of her diary impacts on the representation of Jewish women. My contribution as a practitioner is revealed within the larger framework of the British cultural and political environments. I examine why there is this absence of Jewish female characters in British modern drama and reveal my own attempts to challenge this and to open up the experience of being a Jewish woman in its many facets and theatrical manifestations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Theatre, Film & Television (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.696078
Depositing User: Ms Julia PASCAL
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2016 10:23
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2020 13:07
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14393

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