Friday, March 07, 2014

Mae West: Disenfranchised Woman Playwright

MAE WEST will have the spotlight today when Buffalo State assistant dean of Arts and Humanities Anthony Chase, Ph.D. will lecture on "Mae West, Comedy, and the Disenfranchised Woman Playwright" at 3 o'clock. Professor Chase (a regular visitor to the Mae West Blog) kindly consented to be interviewed before his talk, which is sure to be riveting.
• • Question:  What made you choose your topic, Dr. Chase, and is it part of a larger study you are doing on Mae West? 
• • Dr. Chase said: Ann Colley, the founder and organizer of the lecture series invited me to speak and I suggested the topic.  I am a theater historian, and I knew that the Mae West persona would be familiar to everyone, across the disciplines, and I also feel strongly that her influence on the American theater is glossed over unduly, and that it is, therefore, important, to talk about Mae West.  To exclude her from textbooks on American theater is to distort the history.  I am delighted to see Sophie Treadwell, and Susan Glaspell begin to get their due — — but Mae West, in certain important ways, looms larger. For this talk, I will be pulling material from a larger study on the idea of “the normal” in drama, which also examines Oscar Wilde, Charles Busch, Charles Ludlam, Paul Rudnick, Tony Kushner, Brad Fraser, and others.
• • Question: In your opinion, why was "Diamond Lil" not published?
• • Dr. Chase said:  Mae West did not seek publication of her scripts during her lifetime, except in novel form, I would imagine because she wrote the roles for herself and did not intend to make her signature roles available to other actresses.  That does not justify neglect subsequently.  I think that her artful manipulation of the Blood and Thunder format in “Diamond Lil” illuminates our understanding of that distinctly American form of melodrama, and of a significant cultural shift in the 20th century. The publication of the script could alter our understanding of the Mae West legacy.
• • Question: What new information about Mae will you offer your Buffalo audience?
• • Dr. Chase said:  I will not be unearthing any new information about Mae West this afternoon.  The facts of her accomplishments are well documented.  My contribution on Friday will be to align Mae West with other writers who have been marginalized in the writing of theater history and to position her as a major figure in the American theater — — not just as a Hollywood personality, but as an artist and innovator.   I will also describe how the unconscious mechanism of marginalization works.
• • Don't miss his insightful Mae West discussion today on Friday, 7 March 2014 at SUNY.
• • On Friday, March 7, 3—4:30 pm, Artvoice theater editor (and Buffalo State assistant dean of Arts and Humanities) Anthony Chase will lecture on “Mae West, Comedy, and the Disenfranchised Woman Playwright” in Ketchum Hall, Room 320 on the Buffalo State campus.
• • Anthony Chase will explore the complicated legacy of Mae West.
• • The event is part of the college’s “Conversations In and Out of the Disciplines” series.  These free lectures are open to the general public. A reception will follow.
• • On Wednesday, 7 March 1934 in The Hollywood Reporter • •
• • The Hollywood Reporter (issue dated for Wednesday, 7 March 1934) reported that there were sixteen stories in the March 1934 Movie Mirror "and they all, individually, are worth the price of the magazine." Mae West appeared on the front cover of Movie Mirror. Inside, Harry Lang, the Boswell of Tinseltown, concluded his three-part series of the life story of Mae West. This fan magazine was 96 pages and cost a dime.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • I was visiting with Mae West, during a break in filming. We met in her  dressing room trailer, which is decorated Victorian-style — —  all in red, with plush antique chairs, flocked wallpaper and gilt sconces.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "Now I'd never show the sexual act on the screen. I think that would be too crude. But there certainly is an audience for it."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The West Australian mentioned Mae West.
• • "Another Mae West Picture" • •
• • The title of Mae West's latest picture, 'Now l'm a Lady' is not to be taken as suggesting any cramping of this actress's characteristic style. Quite early in the film (which was shown for the first time at the Grand Theatre yesterday) Miss West is heard to remark, "I am a good woman for a bad man," and 'wisecracks' of this order delivered with the well-known point and aplomb, crackle briskly throughout the story. That story, which is Miss West' s own, while not to be regarded very seriously as a credible plot, serves well enough as occasion for plenty of this sort of thing, besides boasting picturesque backgrounds and incidents. ...
• • Source:  Review in The West Australian; published on Saturday, 7 March 1936 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2865th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:

Source: to Google

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• • Mae West in 1928

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