This article examines how monologue functions in the work of American playwright Mac Wellman, focusing on his 1992 play, A Murder of Crows. Many of the features that mark Wellman’s work as “experimental” are already familiar to readers of canonical modernist and postmodern dramatists, like Gertrude Stein, Samuel Beckett, and Suzan-Lori Parks. Nevertheless, attending to Wellman’s language can challenge a pervasive tendency in theatre studies: the consensus that monologue, particularly in contemporary or postdramatic theatre, is fundamentally a form of heightened communication with the audience. Engaging arguments by Hans-Thies Lehmann and other scholars, the article argues that A Murder of Crows uses monologue to withdraw from the co-presence of the theatrical audience. Defiantly solitary, this kind of monologue resists communication in the present, turning theatre into the site of a utopian protest.


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pp. 293-314
Launched on MUSE
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