Spring 1993 • Vol. XV No. 2 Nonfiction |

Gender, Sexuality and “My Life” in the (University) Theater¹

When I turned twenty-one, coming out into my own sexuality meant beginning many years of relative exile from theater production, even though acting and directing first breathed life into my sense of the possibilities of this both public and private forum. I grew from a teenager who, at a local theater school, had enthusiastically played roles across gender and across generation (Mrs. Malaprop in Sheridan's The Rivals, for instance, was one of my famous performances) to a frightened college freshman in a professional theater training program, who was being indoctrinated, through the theater practice that had once liberated her, into gender and sexuality roles she was ill equipped to play. Ingenues, and what I read as their utter submission, their vacuousness, their weakness, were anathema to me for reasons I could barely articulate in 1976. I only knew that my inability to do well in movement classes was somehow related to my alienation from my own body, which was somehow related to

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