1st Edition

Dramaturgy of Sex on Stage in Contemporary Theatre

Edited By Kate Mulley Copyright 2024
    152 Pages
    by Routledge

    Dramaturgy of Sex on Stage in Contemporary Theatre explores the dramaturgy of sex in contemporary works for the stage in the social, cultural and historical context of the time and place during which they were written and performed.

    Comprising chapters by writers from across the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe, the book covers an expansive range of plays, musicals and dance performances, from Broadway to the Fringe, from post-AIDS epidemic to post-COVID-19 pandemic. Analysing these intimate moments—both textually and as staged—through an intersectional and critical lens illuminates the way power structures are maintained and codified, and how they can be queered and dismantled onstage and off. This examination of depictions of sex on stage attempts to understand from a dramaturgical and sociological perspective how these depictions have developed over time, and how the rise of intimacy directors has responded to the changes within the contemporary theatrical landscape and in the world at large.

    This is an essential companion for any scholar or practitioner looking to stage, discuss or understand intimacy in performance.

    Part 1: Depicting Sexual Discovery and Identity

    1. (Still) Shopping and (Still) Fucking: The Stylistics of Queer Desire on Stage

    Giorgios Sampatakakis

    2. Respectable Queer Sex: Criteria for Permissible Representations in Contemporary Mainstream Theatre

    Joey Baseil Massa

    3. Depicting Queer Sexual Discovery in Contemporary British Fringe Theatre

    Alexander Millington

    4. All Tomorrow’s Parties: Structures of Feeling in Verbatim Theatre

    Shane Kinghorn

    Part 2: Depicting Stylized Sex

    5. Disability and Desire: Multimodal Exploration in Deaf West’s Spring Awakening

    Lindsey Barr

    6. Dancing on a Knife’s Edge: Performing Violent Co-Dependency in Bryony Lavery and Frantic Assembly’s Stockholm

    Karen Morash

    7. A Dramaturgy of Precariousness: The Real, Realness, and Spectatorship of Sex in Dead Centre’s Good Sex

    Huayu Yang

    8. Mette Ingvartsen’s “The Red Pieces” series: Sex, Dance, Erasing Power Structures and Ungendered Bodies

    Anne Lempicki

    Part 3: Depicting Transactional Sex

    9. Commodification of Women’s Bodies: Staging the Consequences

    Sophie Bastien

    10. Masculinity and Commercial Sex from the Perspective of Giuliana Musso’s Sexmachine

    Stefania Lodi Rizzini

    Part 4: Depicting Female Desire

    11. Context, Cliche, and Other Considerations for Staging Female Desire

    Cha Ramos and Claire Warden

    12. Monstrous Desires: Devouring Sexuality and Sapphic Succubus in Contemporary Dramatic Writings in France

    Leïla Cassar

    Part 5: Depicting Sexual Violence

    13. Patriarchy Structures and Depictions of Patriarchal Sex in Contemporary Theatre

    Kate Mulley

    14. Interrogating Racialized Sexual Violence in Slave Play

    Jessica Ellison

    15. Sexual Assault and the Criminal Justice System: Multi-Roling and the Naked Female Body in Breach Theatre’s It’s True, It’s True, It’s True

    Hannah Simpson

    16. Sex Between Macabre Lust and Clinical Dissection in Dea Loher’s Dramaturgy

    Youn Le Guern-Herry

    17. Applications of Dramaturgy in the Physical Creation of Sexual Violence on Stage

    Cha Ramos and Meron Langsner


    Kate Mulley is an internationally acclaimed playwright, librettist, lyricist, producer and dramaturg whose work explores gender, power, place and desire through a feminist, and often historical, lens. Her plays and musicals have been performed in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and China.