Date of Award

Spring 2015

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




William C. Boles

Committee Member

Emily Russell

Committee Member

Jennifer Cavenaugh


Caryl Churchill mixes historical setting with shallowly defined characters and dissociative references to the contemporary within her vast body of work. She seeks to deny her audience the opportunity to blindly accept the entertainment of narrative theater, forcing them instead into a realm of discomfort where they must identify the unsavory elements of history with their own lived experience. This research began with the questioning of previous critical models which examine characters as autonomous beings rather than as personified themes, and asks how Churchill responds radically with theater as a medium to events pervading her own experience as a woman and as a professional. Specifically, this study uses five of Churchill’s plays, Owners, Vinegar Tom, Cloud Nine, Top Girls, and The Skriker, in order to investigate how the playwright uses the constructed worlds and created identities of Brechtian epic theater as a rhetorically analytical device, responding to the simultaneous progress and stagnation of the Women’s Liberation Movement, the Sexual Revolution, and Second Wave Feminism.