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The lives of our mad mothers: Aging and contemporary performance

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This paper investigates representations of aging in contemporary British and Irish theatre. The turn towards portraits of female, as opposed to male, aging in theatre, popular television comedy, and literature is notable. It is the purpose of this paper, therefore, to excavate the politics that lie beneath this cultural development. While, of course, older women have long populated the stage, it is the contention of this article that it is recent years that one can witness a concern to stage particular aspects of the lived experiences of older women's lives in contemporary British and Irish society. Through an examination of stereotype, comedy, illness roles, acting, intergenerational heritage, tragedy, and politics, this paper seeks to better understand the politics of staging age.

Keywords: aging; comedy; gender politics; illness; playwriting; tragedy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Drama Department,University of Exeter, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2012


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