Megan Terry’s works, although varied in structure, length, technique, and subject matter, are linked by a dynamic emphasis on emotion over reason; a lively use of earthy language, humor, music, metaphors, and symbols; a fearless treatment of timely controversial subjects; and a dedication to collaboration and spontaneity in acting and production. Because of her quickness to address controversial issues, some of her most noted works may not be her best plays, but rather those works that elicited the strongest public reaction at the time of first production.
The Magic Realists drew sharp criticism and publicity for its failure to touch ground with some realistic setting or situation, but it merits analysis in that it marks the beginning of Terry’s shift to her own distinctive theatrical style, rooted in the traditions of vaudeville and early film comedy. Viet Rock, while characterized by some critics as naïve and simplistic, clearly captures the spirit of early protest reactions to the war in Vietnam, and as such it is Terry’s best-known play. Two of her most representative works, Keep Tightly Closed in a Cool Dry Place and Megan Terry’s Home, explore the theme of enclosure and entrapment, at both personal and cultural levels. Mollie Bailey’s Traveling Family Circus represents yet another phase in the development of Terry’s playwriting, combining her love of music and strong female characters with a...
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