Title page for ETD etd-06092004-160703

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Goins, Darren C.
Author's Email Address dgoins@lsu.edu, dgoins@towson.edu
URN etd-06092004-160703
Title Performing Masculinities: U.S. Representations of the Male Body in Performance Art Monologues
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Speech Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Ruth Laurion Bowman Committee Chair
James Catano Committee Member
Michael Bowman Committee Member
Patricia Suchy Committee Member
Marchita Mauck Dean's Representative
  • performance art
  • masculinities
  • solo performance
  • lily tomlin
  • veris-realistic representation
  • eric bogosian
  • whoopi goldberg
  • john leguizamo
  • brecht-based aesthetics
Date of Defense 2004-05-20
Availability unrestricted
In this study, I describe and analyze the masculinities constructed in four performance art monologues staged in the US on Broadway. I examined Whoopi Goldberg’s 1984 performance Whoopi Goldberg Live, Lily Tomlin’s 1987 performance in Jane Wagner’s The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, Eric Bogosian’s 1990 performance Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, and John Leguizamo’s 1998 performance Freak: A Semi-Demi-Quasi-Pseudo Autobiography. My method of analysis is a critical interpretation incorporating the lenses of Robert Connell and Victor Seidler. It is grounded in a social-cultural perspective using Arthur W. Frank’s “sociology of the body.” By means of Connell, Seidler, and Frank’s theories, I conceptualize human behavior, gender in particular, in light of the social signs and codes, roles, and identities, that the performers’ bodies represent.

The shows advance social critiques to their audience while also meeting the expectations of the popular marketplace by incorporating representational and presentational aesthetics. By evaluating and reconceiving the constructed nature of the self in and by means of performance, the performances advance a praxis. In light of my interest, they serve as a model for masculinities, as everyday actors, might (re-)conceive of and construct their lives, identities, and relationships.

This study contributes to the growing literature and discourses concerned with representations of the male body and masculinities, particularly in live performance. In particular, this study offers an analysis of performance art monologues presented to the mainstream audiences that tend to frequent Broadway shows and that focus on diverse masculinities.

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