Alan Sikes

The impetus for my essay arose from my desire to research the ways in which performance is involved in the simultaneous production of both class-based and gender-based identities. I allude to this project in the opening paragraphs of the essay. I plan to write a book-length study on the intersections of class and gender politics in performance, but, as I want to examine cases of such intersections across the long span of the entry into and the exit from the Western Modern Era, I have been using opportunities like the writing of this essay to explore specific moments that I will feature in the much larger project.

About the time Theater Historiography: Critical Interventions was being published, I was preparing a proposal for the 2011 Mid-America Theatre Conference on two “closet dramas” on the subject of sodomy published in England between 1672 and 1707 that dovetail neatly with recent scholarship on shifts in the sexual mores of the era—shifts that redefined the role of sexual expression in the “public” vs. the  “private” spheres. I presented this essay in Minneapolis this past March. I am therefore linking my new research on this topic to my earlier research on “The Golden Rump,” in which a public satire on the private “sodomitical” acts of the royal family occasioned the passage of the restrictive Licensing Act of 1737. In this way, I hope to use individual research projects to build chapter-length studies for my future book.