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Maria Irene Fornes Biography

(1930– ), Promenade, Fefu and Her Friends, Eyes on the Harem, A Visit, The Conduct of Life

theatre play women american

American dramatist, born in Havana, Cuba, where she was educated in public schools; she went to the US in 1945 and became an American citizen in 1951. Initially trained as a painter, throughout the 1960s she served a long apprenticeship as a writer and director of Off-Off-Broadway theatre working in an experimental and anti-realist style, developing her distinctive voice within the Actors' Studio in the Judson Poets' Theatre. Her off-beat musical Promenade (1965) was a commercial success. Fefu and Her Friends (1977), widely regarded as her most important play, was performed by the New York Theatre Strategy, an association of women writers to which Fornes was central in the 1970s. Set in the 1930s, the play combines elements of conventional realism with highly innovative techniques to explore the interactive dynamics between eight women who meet in a New England country house to plan a fund-raising event to promote ‘art as a tool for learning’. Her prolific subsequent work includes Eyes on the Harem (1979), A Visit (1981), The Conduct of Life (1985), Lovers and Keepers (1986), and And What of the Night (1989).

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