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Megan Terry Biography

(1932– ), Eat at Joe's, Keep Tightly Closed in a Cool Dry Place

theatre american plays central

American dramatist, born in Seattle, educated at the University of Washington. She is a central figure in contemporary American alternative theatre, and has been hailed as the mother of American feminist drama. She was a founding member of the Open Theatre with Joseph Chaikin, the New York Theatre Strategy, and the Women's Theatre Council, and in 1974 was made playwright-in-residence of the Omaha Magic Theatre. In each of these contexts, she has freely engaged in formal experimentalism and the politicization of the theatrical event, especially in relation to women in society and in the theatre. Eight of her plays were produced by the Open Theatre including Eat at Joe's (1963), Keep Tightly Closed in a Cool Dry Place (1965), Calm Down Mother (1965), and most notably Viet Rock (1966), subtitled a ‘Folk War Movie’, which gave full expression to the transformational idiom of the Open Theatre's work, in which they sought a Theatre of ‘ritual, myth, illusion, and mystery’ as opposed to the theatre of behavioural or psychological realism. In her work with the Omaha Magic Theatre, Terry has explored a version of ‘community theatre’ in which plays are created in response to the social and domestic problems of the small townships of the central Midwest plains, such as 100,001 Horror Stories of the Plains (1976), Goona Goona (1979), about spouse and child abuse, and Kegger (1982), about alcohol abuse amongst the young. Her other plays include The Gloaming, Oh My Darling (1965), Approaching Simone (1970, a version of the life of French philosopher Simone Weil), Hothouse (1974), Do You See What I'm Saying (1990), Body Leaks (1990), Breakfast Serial (1991), and Sound Fields: Are We Hear (1992).

Peter Terson, pseudonym of Peter Patterson Biography - (1932– ), pseudonym of Peter Patterson, A Night to Make the Angels Weep, The Mighty Reservoy [next]

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