Julie Bovasso & the Dramatic Imperative

Upcoming: the Association for Theatre Research (ASTR) conference in Baltimore, where I will participate in the Debating Postdramatic Theatre working session with, “The Moon is Ours! Julie Bovasso & the Dramatic Imperative.” Short excerpt below the still of Bovasso in Robert Frank’s 1961 short film, The Sin of Jesus.

Julie Bovasso in Robert Frank's The Sin of Jesus, 1961.

“And it was not just Actor’s Equity rules and cramped basement theatres that the Bovasso aesthetic mocked; on the downtown performance scene, a restless and expansionist avant-garde outgrew its playgrounds to find a tower of Babble awaiting them. Her characters speak English, Swedish, Chinese, Italian, and gibberish; their mother tongues are unstable, their desires are hysterical, their conflicts self-reinforcing. ‘What do you mean, dream’s over?’ a desperate lawyer asks a psychiatrist, holding tightly to the fantasy of Jungian interpretation. Bovasso’s writing and direction stressed the uncanny contours of loss, experienced through the performers’ resistance to their roles, and the playwright’s insistence on a fraudulent dramatis personae.”

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