Foreskin's legacy : Gender, Sex and Violence in Contemporary New Zealand Theatre
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
In the early 1980s Foreskin's Lament swept the country as a major artistic and commercial success. In this play dramatist Greg McGee challenges the traditional New Zealand male role and associated behaviour. Foreskin ends the play searching for a new male identity: "[c]an't play the game or any more wear the one-dimensional mask .... Whaddarya?"¹ Has the massive economic and social change occuring in New Zealand since the early 1980s been responsible for answering Foreskin's question and redefining the male role? Similarly, has feminism resulted in women achieving real freedom from the constraints of traditional expectations? Or, rather, has the uncertainty caused by the constant change and financial insecurity influenced New Zealanders to reactivate or reinforce gender roles from earlier times? It is possible to answer the above questions through a close study of contemporary New Zealand theatre: theatre is influenced and produced by the social and cultural context in which it exists. Within the social context, gender is inextricably linked with sex and violence. As the meeting between society and theatre occurs during the performance of play texts, the performance situation is the dominant concern of this thesis. ¹Greg McGee. Foreskin's Lament. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1985. 96.