I am an associate professor of Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature at Simon Fraser University. My research and teaching interests include theatre and performance studies, comedy, women writers, and print culture.
My book, Prologues and Epilogues of Restoration Theater: Gender and Comedy, Performance and Print, was published by Delaware in 2013, and came out in paperback in 2015. Accompanying over ninety per cent of all performed and printed plays between 1660 and 1714, prologues and epilogues–customized comic verses that promoted the play–evolved into essential theatrical elements, and they both contributed to and reflected a performer’s success. Once dismissed by scholars as formulaic, prologues and epilogues should be included in scholars’ analyses of Restoration and eighteenth-century plays in order for us to understand how Restoration audiences consumed plays.
I have published several Restoration and eighteenth-century theatre articles on subjects such as the play (possibly by Shakespeare) Double Falsehood; actresses Anne Bracegirdle and Anne Oldfield; the theatrical practice of ending tragedies with bawdy epilogues; “mad songs”; The London Merchant and theatre audiences; Margaret Cavendish’s comic prologues and epilogues; and the plays and theatrical compositions of Anne Finch. Forthcoming is an article on the play Double Falsehood. I am also editing The Broadview Anthology of Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century British Theatre, 2nd edition. With four colleagues from the SFU English department I have edited Women and Comedy: History, Theory, Practice (Fairleigh Dickinson, 2014; paperback 2016). With scholars from McGill’s Interacting with Print consortium, I have edited Interacting with Print: Keywords for the Era of Print Saturation (Chicago, forthcoming 2017).
My second book project examines audience taste in comedy in long-eighteenth-century British theatre. Why did audiences keep wanting to see comic characters such as the quixote and the widow, and comic practices, especially those that seemed incongruous to their plays, such as rape in comedies and comic interludes/entr’actes in tragedies? I argue that comedy is the dominant mode of eighteenth-century theatre , and therefore that we must reinterpret plays such as Hamlet and Oroonoko through audience reception. The project combines comedy and performance theories with archival research to set audience taste for repeated comic characters and practices alongside key cultural moments in Britain. The archival work for this book has been supported by fellowships from the Clark Library, the Huntington Library, the Harry Ransom Center, and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.