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7 lesbian plays that made a mark on stage

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The Color Purple - lesbian plays

7 lesbian plays that made a mark on stage

All the world’s a stage! While everyone has a role to play, it’s good to see the availability of LGBT theater with gay characters in the spotlight. But what about lesbian plays and lesbian characters in plays?

Autostraddle pointed out the dearth of lesbian shows and lesbian characters on stage, noting that “it seems lesbian characters are few & far between, and lesbian shows are often relegated to the fringes of fringes.”

Here are seven lesbian plays (or plays about lesbians) that were produced on stage.

Lesbian plays #1: Confessions of a Female Disorder

Created by playwright Susan Miller (who is two time OBIE winner and recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Playwriting), Confessions of a Female Disorder (1973) is the story of a woman’s life (Ronnie), from her first first period to realizing that she’s a lesbian.

Lesbian plays #2: Stop Kiss

Written by playwright Diana Son, Stop Kiss (1998) still feels relevant today about the aftermath of an attack on two women, Callie and Sara, after they had just kissed each other. While Callie only receives minor injuries, Sara is left in a coma.

Lesbian plays #3: Bad Girls: The Musical

Based on the first season of the ITV1 series Bad Girls, Bad Girls: The Musical (2006) was created by Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus (who also created the TV series) with music and lyrics done by Kath Gotts.

Similar to the TV story, the musical details life in the Larkhall women’s prison with Helen Stewart, the Wing Governor, falling in love with Nikki Wade, an inmate.

Lesbian plays #4: The Children’s Hour

Created by playwright Lillian Hellman, The Children’s Hour (1934) is based on a scandal in Scotland in 1810 about two women in charge of a boarding school accused of having an affair, and how this scandal destroyed their lives.

Lesbian plays #5: The Color Purple

Of course, if we’re talking about lesbian plays, we can’t NOT talk about The Color Purple (2005), the first hit Broadway musical that had a lesbian character as a romantic lead.

The play– based on Alice Walker’s 1982 novel– details more the relationship between Celie and Shug, as compared to the movie directed by Steven Spielberg in 1988.

Lesbian plays #6: Fun Home

Alison Bechdel wrote a graphic memoir called Fun Home (2006). This memoir was adapted by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori in 2013 and is considered an updated look of the life of a young lesbian.

It also considers Bechdel’s complicated relationship with her father, who was secretly gay.

Lesbian plays #7: The Captive

In 1926, Frenchman Édouard Bourdet wrote a play called La Prisonnière. This was later adapted and produced on Broadway by American producer and director Gilbert Miller as The Captive within that same year.

The story is about a young woman Irène who is love Madame d’Aiguines, but is engaged to a young man Jacques. The play popularized the use of violets as a symbol of homosexuality and is the one of the first Broadway plays to have female homosexuality as its subject.

How about you? Watched any good lesbian plays we might have missed? Post your recommendations in the comment section below!

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