'Faggot, Fairy, Pansy… Queer’: Gay/Queer Confrontations in Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band

Costa, Francisco (2013) 'Faggot, Fairy, Pansy… Queer’: Gay/Queer Confrontations in Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band. Revista de Estudios Norteamericanos, 17. pp. 25-37. ISSN 1133-309X

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Abstract

Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band presents openly in 1968 a portrait of male homosexual life. For the first time, mainstream audiences see gay men talk explicitly about their sexual preferences, dance, kiss, and retire for sex. Characters recognize a common gay culture by paying homage to actresses (Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis), films (Sunset Boulevard, The Wizard of Oz), songs immortalized by Judy Garland, and theatre (Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, William Inge), which are appropriated in the construction of gay identities that react against a heteronormative structure which overwhelms homoerotic desire in 1960s America. Despite a stereotypical representation of its gay characters, which are posited as isolated and unhappy gay men, and consequently attracted widespread criticism in academia (Clum, 1992), through a queer reading of the play and its historical, political and social context, I argue in this paper that The Boys was at the time of its first production, and still is, an empowering text in the representation of gay male identities and in the construction of queer masculinities. Through my critical analysis of the play, I argue that the use of stereotypes and the representation of a group of gay men suffering from self-deprecation becomes in The Boys a skilful way of strengthening gay identities.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: american theatre,pre-stonewall,homosexuality,queer,mart crowley
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2014 11:08
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2020 00:35
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/49295
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