Aug. 3-6, Los Angeles.
SGS/ATDS sponsored panel: “Surviving The Outside: Modernity and the Woman Artist.”
Chair: Monica Stufft, University of California at Berkeley.
This ATDS focus group panel involved Susan Glaspell Society members and featured a reading and discussion of Glaspell’s play, The Outside. A deeply symbolic one-act set at an abandoned life-saving station, the play focuses on two women who have virtually exiled themselves. In the play, male characters attempt and fail to resuscitate a drowning victim while the two women living at the life-saving station struggle with their decision to remain isolated from the rest of society. Allie Mayo “has not spoken an unnecessary word for twenty years” after the death of her husband while Mrs. Patrick has elected to be emotionally and physically distanced from others after the infidelity of her husband. Our reading (with a run-time of approximately 30 minutes) and discussion explored the significance of what Veronica Makowsky has called “two aspiring, but temporarily stymied, female modernist artists-in-life.” We considered the implications of Glaspell’s presentation of a highly gendered view of modernism or modernisms in The Outside. In particular, we addressed Glaspell’s suggestion that the woman artist cannot survive if she disconnects herself from society or from her past in order to consider the play’s implications for theatre today.