A New Book for Theatre Enthusiasts – Female Playwrights and Applied Intersectionality in Romanian Theater

“IN BETWEEN: A Collection of Short Plays” Chronicles the Multifaceted Experience of Migration
August 15, 2023
Official opening Solastalgia @ Salzkammergut2024
March 12, 2024

In 1989, Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw made public her research in an article that revolutionized our ways of looking at discrimination, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.” Ever since that paper was published, we have been introduced to its quintessential parts: that is, discrimination is based on race, sex, gender, status quo, immigration status, differently able body, and thus we have seen the dangers in trivializing equity.

I started to think about this project as a reaction of my being in the United States since 1998. As an educator, I have noticed the discrepancy when it comes to what is offered in schools and universities in terms of dramatic literature. Not only are there few writers from Eastern Europe included in the curricula, but the list typically leans towards authors whose body of work has been translated into English – that is, who won awards and/or whose plays were produced professionally. I’d like to clarify that I investigated this discrepancy not with an alarmed, pessimistic reaction, even though that could be justified in this context, but with a desire to make a small gesture of reparation. I used plays written by Alexandra Badea, Carmen-Francesca Banciu, Alexa Băcanu, Ana Sorina Corneanu, Mihaela Drăgan, Dr. Mihaela Michailov, Dr. Domnica Rădulescu, Saviana Stănescu, Dr. Elise Wilk, and myself. Acting in a triple role, as an educator, a playwright, and a critic, has given me unique, shifting, and refreshing perspectives.

The plays selected for this volume address issues related to education in schools (or lack of appropriate, up-to-date curricula); sexual education and the stigma associated with that, especially when shaming women; kids and teens left to manage on their own the intricacies of parenthood with parents who must leave Romania for cheap labor; debilitating poverty and its consequences; LGBTQ and the always elusive, sometimes misleading nature of “traditional families/values”; toxic masculinity; global markets and inhumane working conditions; immigration and its vast intergenerational ramifications; Porajmos, the Roma Holocaust; and others.

Furthermore, I wanted to present excerpts from the plays in a bilingual format. We have been invaded by English, and, in doing so, for the most part it has been comforting. We speak a version of English that allows us to communicate. However, when we talk about diversity and inclusion, we must listen to other types of sounds, so that for a second, we are pushed outside of our comfort zone. We could then see how the simple act of listening to or the reading of fragments coming from other linguistic backgrounds will make us respect those literary traditions, as well as invite more authors to this still pretty much exclusive and excluding English table. There, those born into this dominant language could have access to great world literature. I also wanted to give playwrights a chance to answer some questions and thus allow readers to have access to their perspectives on intersectionality, feminism, etc. In addition, I have been teaching for decades and have developed my own style of engaging with students. I have thus been creating several performative workshop series outside of academia and I have been working as a curator for a new play festival for the last five years. Because of all this, I wanted the volume to have an applied dimension, so I have designed exercises/activities for each play, which can be used in classrooms and/or outside of them. Finally, I decided that the best way to introduce these female playwrights had to be unmediated by any outside voices. I wanted to use my hyphenated experience as a Romanian born American scholar and engage in a genuine dialogue with these plays, characters, themes, and messages.

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