Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 85 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Carolyn Yalkut


Autobiographical drama, Autobiographical memory, Memory in literature, Young women, Man-woman relationships, Parent and child

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature | Theatre and Performance Studies


Appearances is a one-act memory play with a focus on temporality, language deficiencies, and allegorical depictions of the ambiguous relationships between men and women. Using dramatic techniques this autobiographically based play is a complex blend of doubled actors, stage directions, and surrealistic depictions of time reflecting the characteristics of absurdist plays. Using such devices creates a pastiche of female degradation, effacement, and feelings of worthlessness inspired by realistic depictions of male harassment. Elements such as the inadequacy of language, the role of autobiography, and the Cubist depiction of temporality performed with non-verbal motifs and recursive tendencies reveal a woman’s existential woes and eventual escape from a literal and metaphorical prison. Lydia Davis, Walter Benjamin, Lina Perkins Wilder, and other critics, along with playwrights including Samuel Beckett, Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller provide theory, criticism, and inspiration to warrant this story’s irrefutable reliance on stage action for adequate portrayal and impact. Depictions of the frustrations, fears, absurdities, and deceptions that are acted out in Appearances disclose a quest for acceptance and authenticity in the characters’ relationships. Appearances strives to highlight the multitude of issues that arise from problems facing women, youth, and on a larger meta-theatrical level, the inadequacy of human dependence on language as a means of communicating these problems among one another and to a larger audience.