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PROMISCUOUS THEATER: The Ethico-Aesthetics of Radical Sex and the Plays of Robert Chesley

PROMISCUOUS THEATER: The Ethico-Aesthetics of Radical Sex and the Plays of Robert Chesley cover image
PROMISCUOUS THEATER: The Ethico-Aesthetics of Radical Sex and the Plays of Robert Chesley cover image PROMISCUOUS THEATER: The Ethico-Aesthetics of Radical Sex and the Plays of Robert Chesley cover image PROMISCUOUS THEATER: The Ethico-Aesthetics of Radical Sex and the Plays of Robert Chesley cover image
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by: Glenn D. Kessler, Ph.D.
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Publication Date: August 29, 2015
Book Size: 8.5" x 11"
Pages: 233
Binding: Perfect Bound
$16.69

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Book Synopsis
This study takes the rituals of radical sex practiced by gay men in the 1970s and the plays of Robert Chesley as its primary focus in order to develop a theoretical model of theatrical exchange based on his unique contributions to drama. It provides the only in- depth analysis of the works of Chesley, an important and under-evaluated queer dramatist.. While I do not construct my analysis as a biography of Chesley, his life as a Person with AIDS (PWA) as documented in his personal journals and represented in his plays provides vital insights into his process, politics and perversions. Due to the graphic sex portrayed on stage, Chesley's plays radically re-imagine the porousness of the body, the limits and possibilities of queerness and the affective intensities of theater. Following Patrick Moore’s assertion that, “the sex of the 1970s was creative; it was art” I find it productive to structure my analysis of the plays around three radical sexual practices that flourished in the 1970s and appear in the plays themselves: Sadomasochism, fist-fucking and pig-play. This work suggests that radical sexual practices and the rituals that surround them serve as models for transformative theatrical transmission and thus both the repertoire of sexual acts and the dramatic forms that represent them expand the capacity for empathetic exchange between the porous bodies of active and passive participants. It is my assertion that promiscuous theater has existed throughout the history of Western drama, but approaches its limit in the plays of Robert Chesley due to the social environment created by sexual liberation and the AIDS crisis.
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About The Author
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Glenn D. Kessler received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine/San Diego join-program in Drama & Theater in March 2014. He is a performer, playwright, poet, activist, and educator who has shown work extensively in NYC and Los Angeles. His writing has been published in the Radical Faerie Digest (RFD), JIMMY the Zine, Darin Klein's Box of Books. In 2011, he directed and starred in the 25th Anniversary Production of Robert Chesley's JERKER in Los Angeles.