Attempts on (writing) her life: ethics and ontology in pro-feminist playwriting


  • Kai Roland Green Independent Scholar; Royal Holloway University; Roskilde University



Levinas, phenomenology, performativity


Does a feminist dramaturgy exist for male playwrights? The post-1990s work of British playwrights Simon Stephens, Tim Crouch and Martin Crimp variously enact an attrition between female protagonists and male writers. Appraising these "attempts on (writing) her life" requires a feminist criticality that can incorporate the unique, intersubjective relation of playwright and character. What is the gendered relationship of these actors? In the manner of Performance/Philosophy, this essay finds that Levinasian fecundity answers this call – finding a crucial space for continental philosophy in the pro-feminist movement. Drawing on the philosophical significance of “objectification”, this essay argues that ethical portrayals of gender - in Peggy Phelan’s notion of the ‘representational economy’ - bestow a responsibility upon male playwrights to explore the potential to contribute to feminist critical writing. Whether this is a matter of ontology – and the essentialism of sexual difference that accompanies such a position – is weighed against the ethics of men-writing-women. 

Author Biography

Kai Roland Green, Independent Scholar; Royal Holloway University; Roskilde University

Kai Roland Green is an Independent Scholar and Dramaturg, working at the intersection of gender studies, continental philosophy and European dance-theatre. A graduate of Royal Holloway, University of London, Kai is currently studying for an MSc. in Social Entrepreneurship at Roskilde University, Denmark.


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How to Cite

Green, Kai Roland. 2017. “Attempts on (writing) Her Life: Ethics and Ontology in Pro-Feminist Playwriting”. Performance Philosophy 2 (2):286-98.