This article examines Sarah Ruhl's plays In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play, The Clean House, and How to Transcend a Happy Marriage as examples of a dramaturgically queered approach to the American household drama. My argument involves close readings of portions of the texts associated with the physical set and the emotional connections among the characters through the lens of queer theory. I first trace the lineage of the families and set designs that define this subcategory of drama, highlighting the relationship between physical form and cultural content. I contend that the household sets that accompany the canonical works of family drama have created a parallel between the structures we see on stage in these plays and the kinds of (normative) families we expect to encounter inside. Citing these predecessors in both the visual and emotional landscape of her plays, Ruhl in her works then tears both the physical houses and normative boundaries of families asunder. The result is an expanded concept of what a house and home can do and mean in the world today.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 330-353
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.