Contemporary American queer drama : pushing the limits to remain at the borders
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Over the past 20 years, after the American LGBT liberationist movement has managed to make new voices heard and acquired certain social conquests, partly overturning decades of exclusion and segregation, gay American drama has often focused on the stories of white upper-middle class men who lead lives that conform to heteronormative roles. This has been the pattern on the American stage following Tony Kushner’s influential Angels in America. However, the LGBT collective debates between stances of assimilation to mainstream society and the intention of preserving identity paradigms that differ from hegemonic norms. The intersections between sexuality and ethnic identity offer an alternative model of characterization in drama, one that highlights differences and addresses issues that are frequently overlooked by the mainstream. The crosses between race and sexual orientation focus on the preservation of differences as a response to conformity to social mores. This analysis studies three queer plays belonging to Asian-American, Chicano and African-American playwrights who aim at transgressing hegemonic standards of normality and reject the idea of accommodating to society expectations. By doing so, these authors challenge American drama from the point of view of subject matter, characterization and dramatic structure, highlighting difference at the center of their plays. In the conclusions, I reveal that the new American queer theater may be that which rekindles the spark of belligerence that may have been lost when gay ceased to be a synonym for marginal and became another mainstream construct.
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