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Open Access Thesis
Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Titled as a play on Mindy Kaling’s 2011 book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), this thesis highlights the obstacles women, the genre of comedy, and dramaturgs face in order to be taken seriously in the arts. Using the work of Mindy Kaling, I explore how she uses comedy as a means of defying the expectations put upon her as an Indian American woman in order to provide context for the ways in which the marginal statuses of women of color and comedy overlap.
In an effort to demonstrate the ways in which comedy can be utilized as a tool for social change and the ways in which the work of a dramaturg can support that, this thesis documents the planning and execution of three events that accompany this written document: a production of Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers’ 2002 play, Matt & Ben; a screening of the 1997 Oscar-winning film, Good Will Hunting; and a Q+A conversation with Broadway’s most-produced female playwright, Theresa Rebeck.
My work is shaped by various theoretical frameworks, including intersectional feminism, symbolic annihilation, charged humor, and gender performance theories, seeking to establish that my dramaturgical, comedic, and feminist sensibilities are all driven by the same empathetic impulse that sits at the very core of my artistry and arguing that despite a vast history of marginality, dramaturgs, comics, and women can be powerful agents of change.
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Schmidt, Shaila, "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Dramaturgical Concerns): Re-Centering Dramaturgy and Comedy as Feminist Tools for Social Change" (2020). Masters Theses. 946.