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  • 1. L.O: To analyse the representation of women in Act 1 of the play.
  • 2. The first act depicts a trans historical tableau in which Marlene, an eighties’ career woman, hosts a dinner party for a table full of disparate women drawn from history, literature and art.
  • 3. Isabella Bird http://www.nls.uk/about-us/films- made-by-nls/isabella-bird
  • 4.  Lady Nijo  Wrote a memoir, Towazugatari "An Unasked-For Tale", The Confessions of Lady Nijo).  The Towazugatari begins in 1271, when Nijo, aged 14, is given by her father to Go-Fukakusa as a concubine.  Her father died when she was 15, and her relationship with the emperor was strained from the beginning, because she took several other lovers over the years, including one whom she knew before becoming a concubine. Matters were complicated further by Nijo's pregnancies: the only child she bore to Go-Fukakusa died in infancy, and the other three children she had were not by the emperor.  Nijo was expelled from the court in 1283.  Nijo then became a Buddhist nun. She traveled to saсred and historical places, returning to the capital regularly.
  • 5.  Dull Gret –Dulle Griet, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c1564)  With a soldier's breastplate fixed over her dress, hair streaming from under her helmet, face etched and dry, she runs across a landscape at the mouth of hell, with a long, lethal sword in one hand and baskets and bundles of modest loot - food, iron, pots and pans - in the other.  Around this central mythic figure - perhaps a personification of a Flemish proverb, "She could plunder in front of hell and remain unscathed" - the world is consumed by fire and war. People have become monsters: a man with his arse above his head, a barrel with a human face. Dulle Griet charges through them unperturbed at the mouth of hell, which is personified as a scaly , leviathan face mutating out of a hill, its toothy jaws crammed with grotesque, tragic sinners.  Above, the sky blazes red; hell and earth are merging. Behind Dulle Griet to the right, a mob of women are beating the damned, while soldiers seem timid in comparison. The women, knocking the mutants out of their way and defying the army, are looting houses and ransacking the ruined land.  Armies pillaged Europe routinely in the 16th and 17th centuries; it was an acknowledged way for soldiers to be "paid". In this painting, the army is beaten at its own game by tough peasant women. Their leader Dulle Griet is an anti-hero, energetic and courageous, the tragicomic spirit of survival.
  • 6.  Pope Joan  Medieval religious leader  Her existence has been dismissed by the church as purely a myth. Still others point to evidence in documents and artwork that indicates a woman once held the highest position in the church.  It is thought that she grew up in Mainz, Germany, and studied Greek and Latin at a monastery founded by English missionaries.  At the time, girls were not educated so Pope Joan may have disguised herself as a boy in order to pursue her studies. She allegedly fell in love with a monk and went with him to Athens disguised as a fellow monk. Assuming the name John Anglicus, she later moved to Rome. A talented scribe, she worked as a papal notary and rose up the ranks within the Vatican, eventually becoming a cardinal.  Elected pontiff around 855, Pope Joan supposedly reigned as Pope John VIII.  According to the stories, her secret was uncovered during a papal procession. Pregnant at the time, Pope Joan was on her way to the Church of the Lateran in Rome when she began having contractions. Learning that the pope was having a baby, the people reacted in horror. Most reports indicate that she was killed that day, either by stoning or by being dragged behind a horse.  Later popes avoided the crossroads where Pope Joan was supposedly killed, which was called the Vicus Papissa, or street of the female pope.
  • 7.  Patient Griselda – The Canterbury Tales: Chaucer  The Clerk’s Prologue and Tale  The Host asks the Clerk to cheer up and tell a merry tale, and the Clerk agrees to tell a tale by the Italian poet Petrarch. Griselda is a hardworking peasant who marries into the aristocracy. Her husband tests her fortitude in several ways, including pretending to kill her children and divorcing her. He punishes her one final time by forcing her to prepare for his wedding to a new wife. She does all this dutifully, her husband tells her that she has always been and will always be his wife (the divorce was a fraud), and they live happily ever after. http://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/c/the-canterbury-tales/summary-and-analysis/the- clerks-prologue-and-tale
  • 8. Act One is simply a comic means of engaging the audience. The fact that women over the centuries have many of the same concerns implies the universality of Marlene’s struggle. Act One sets up the idea that in order to be successful, a woman must behave like a man. Act One only confuses the audience.
  • 9.  How successful do you find Act One as an opening and why?  Write a response to this question of no more than 500 words using your ideas from the activities you have completed