glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
social sciences
special features
about glbtq


   member name
   Forgot Your Password?  
Not a Member Yet?  

  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy






Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

Vogel, Paula (b. 1951)  
page: 1  2  3  

The teenaged Li'l Bit finds the situation confusing--the more so, no doubt, because of a secret that she reveals to the audience. When she asks Peck why he refers to the car as "she," he says, "It doesn't have to be a 'she'--but when you close your eyes and think of someone who responds to your touch--someone who performs just for you and gives you just what you ask for--I guess I always see a 'she.' You can call it what you like." Given the choice, she informs the spectators, "I closed my eyes--and decided not to change the gender."

Critic Steven Winn stated that How I Learned to Drive "is not so much about sexual molestation as it is about the resolution of the feelings that come afterward," a sentiment echoed by reviewer Dick Scanlan, who wrote, "Li'l Bit's homosexuality has nothing to do with Uncle Peck at all; it's who she was originally and who she will become later."

There were more than fifty productions of How I Learned to Drive in the year that Vogel received the Pulitzer Prize. She also won Obie, Drama Desk, New York Drama Critics' Circle, and Outer Critics' Circle Awards for the play.

Vogel's road to success was not without its bumps. Her 1986 play And Baby Makes Seven (first produced in San Francisco) was a box-office failure off-Broadway in 1993. Vogel called the piece--about a household consisting of a lesbian couple and their gay male friend who have three imaginary children and are expecting a real one--"a very sweet little play." She praised the New York cast, which included Jones, and suggested that the audience might not have been ready to accept lesbian partners kissing and planning to become parents. Although the production was in a Christopher Street theater, the audience it attracted "was not a Christopher Street crowd," commented Jones.

The experience was a low point for Vogel, who said that she was glad that her brother Carl was not there to see one of her plays "flop."

Subsequently, however, she has enjoyed a string of successes. After the highly acclaimed How I Learned to Drive came The Mineola Twins (first performed in Juneau, Alaska in 1998, then in New York in 1999).

The twins are Myra and Myrna, whose appearance may be identical but whose lives certainly are not. The play traces their development at points during three Republican administrations--Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan. Myra winds up as a lesbian mother working for Planned Parenthood, while Myrna becomes a conservative radio host.

Both twins are played by the same actress, and, in a gender-bending twist, a single actress plays both Myra's partner and Myrna's husband.

Critic Charles Isherwood commented that through The Mineola Twins Vogel showed that "it's human lives that are fractured and real people's psyches that are torn apart by the good-and-evil poles that remain such a mysteriously powerful part of American culture."

In 2000, Vogel contributed a segment to the anthology movie, directed by Donna Deitch for Showtime, Common Ground, which examines attitudes toward homosexuality in a fictitious small town in three different decades. Vogel's segment, "A Friend of Dorothy's," is set in the 1950s, and explores the predicament of a woman who has been dishonorably discharged from the U. S. Navy after her lesbianism is discovered. When the reason for her discharge is learned, she faces ostracism from everyone except the owner of a local diner, a woman who has her own reasons for becoming a friend of Dorothy's.

Vogel's most recently produced play, The Long Christmas Ride Home (2003), uses a flash-forward technique to look into the futures of three young siblings who are in the backseat of the family car when it spins out of control on Christmas day.

Actors played the adult siblings, while the children were represented by puppets made by talented gay puppet artist Basil Twist.

Gerard Raymond of The Advocate stated that the play "bears all the Vogel hallmarks: humor, compassion, unflinching honesty, and a political voice filtered through family drama."

Vogel herself commented that in the play she was "revisiting one of [her] primary concerns, which is that it's , not so much as AIDS, which kills in this country."

In addition to writing her own plays Vogel has taught playwriting for many years. With a three-year fellowship from the Pew Charitable Trust she served as writer-in-residence at the University of Alaska and the Perseverance Theater in Juneau beginning in 1981. She joined the faculty of Brown University as director of the graduate playwriting program in 1985 and has been named the Adele Kellenberg Seaver Professor of Creative Writing.

  <previous page   page: 1  2  3   next page>  
Contact Us
Join the Discussion
Related Entries
More Entries by this contributor
A Bibliography on this Topic

Citation Information
More Entries about Literature
Popular Topics:

Social Sciences

Stonewall Riots
Stonewall Riots

Gay Liberation Front

The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980
The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980

Leather Culture

Anthony, Susan B.
Anthony, Susan B.

Africa: Sub-Saharan, Pre-Independence



Computers, the Internet, and New Media





This Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc. is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.