Cover image for Forbidden acts : pioneering gay & lesbian plays of the twentieth century
Forbidden acts : pioneering gay & lesbian plays of the twentieth century
Hodges, Ben (Benjamin A.)
Publication Information:
New York : Applause Theatre & Cinema Books : Distribution North America, Hal Leonard Corp., [2003]

Physical Description:
741 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
God of vengeance / Sholom Asch -- The captive / Edouard Bourdet -- The children's hour / Lillian Hellman -- Oscar Wilde / Leslie and Sewell Stokes -- The immortalist / Ruth and Augustus Goetz -- The killing of sister George / Frank Marcus -- Boys in the band / Mart Crowley -- Bent / Martin Sherman -- As is / William Hoffman -- Love! Valour! Compassion! / Terrence McNally.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN6120.G43 F67 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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(Applause Books). Applause Theatre & Cinema Books is proud to announce the publication of the first collected anthology of gay and lesbian plays from the entire span of the twentieth century, sure to find wide acceptance by general readers and to be studied on campuses around the world. Among the ten plays, three are completely out of print. Included are The God of Venegeance (1918) by Sholom Ash, the first play to introduce lesbian characters to an English-language audience; Lillian Hellman's classic The Children's Hour (1933), initially banned in London and passed over for the Pulitzer Prize because of its subject matter; and Oscar Wilde (1938) by Leslie and Sewell Stokes, a major award-winning success that starred Robert Morley. More recent plays include Mart Crowley's The Boys in the Band (1968), the first hit "out" gay play that was the most realistic and groundbreaking portrayal of gays on stage up to that time; Martin Sherman's Bent (1978), which daringly focused on the love between two Nazi concentration camp inmates and starred Richard Gere; William Hoffman's As Is (1985), which was one of the first plays to deal with the AIDS crisis and earned three Tony Award nominations; and Terrence McNally's Love! Valour! Compassion! (1994), which starred Nathan Lane and won the Tony Award for Best Play. The other plays are Edouard Bourdet's The Captive (1926), Ruth and Augustus Goetz's The Immoralist (1954) and Frank Marcus' The Killing of Sister George (1967). Forbidden Acts includes a broad range of theatrical genres: drama, tragedy, romance, comedy and farce. They remain vibrant and relevant today as a testament of art's ability to persevere in the face of oppression.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This well-selected anthology chronologically examines 10 plays that ?are notable for having explored gay or lesbian themes in what might be loosely termed a ?pioneering? way.? Encompassing genres from drama and tragedy to romance and comedy, the works discussed include 1910?s The God of Vengeance by Sholom Ash, 1934?s The Children?s Hour by Lillian Hellman, 1965?s The Killing of Sister George by Frank Marcus and 1994?s Love! Valour! Compassion! by Terrence McNally. For each play, Hodges gives the full text, and, for some, he shares a brief overview that puts the play in context. The compilation?which includes three out-of-print plays?deftly shows how the 20th-century stage progressed from burying and implying homosexuality to showing gay characters with an ?unapologetic, happenstance presentation.? Scholars of gay and lesbian history, as well as theater buffs, will want to add this important volume to their collections. Photos. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

In this anthology, Hodges, an actor, producer, and director, shows that the theater has been a powerful force in bringing gays and lesbians out of the closet and into the public's consciousness. The ten selections (all of which have been performed on or off Broadway) share themes of oppression and suppression countered by love, fear, anger, and humor so that the characters come to be seen as universally human-not gay or lesbian. Sholom Asch's The God of Vengence (1918), a Yiddish lesbian romance, was declared obscene by a New York judge and closed down because of a seduction scene in a brothel, while Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour-about two teachers at an all-girls' school in New England-was banned in Boston in 1933. An autobiographical look at his attraction to boys, Andr? Gide's The Immoralist hit the New York stage in 1954, featuring Louis Jordan, Geraldine Page, and the young James Dean. The Boys in the Band (1968) was called the "first homosexual play" for its very frank and revealing picture of a group of "queer friends." Bent (1979) is a powerful story of gay love in a Nazi concentration camp. The last two plays, As Is (1985) and Love! Valour! Compassion! (1994), brought the topic of AIDS to the stage. This strong survey of 20th-century gay/lesbian drama is recommended for theater arts and gay/lesbian collections.-Howard Miller, St. Louis (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.