Lindsay Sklar ‘10

Part of Lindsay's research for her thesis entailed attending a performance of Royall Tyler’s “The Contrast,” the first show officially produced in the United States (1787).

Part of my research for my thesis entailed my attending a performance of Royall Tyler’s “The Contrast,” the first show officially produced in the United States (1787). Reading a text can only provide a limited knowledge of eighteenth century theatricality; researching secondary sources that describe the environment of the stage can only spark a vague notion of the theatre’s role in gender-discussion and social dynamics. Engaging in a performance, however, fostered my awareness of the audience’s reaction -- as well as the atmosphere of the playhouse. A transformative experience, seeing this performance allowed me to view theater through the lens of an eighteenth century theatergoer. The actors’ interactions and asides cemented my notion of the theater as a crucible for public opinion. By analyzing a series of plays against the backdrop of social and political change, I hope to determine how women on stage both reflected and refracted women in society.