Crimes of the Heart

by Beth Henley
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What was Beth Henley's impact on theater as a whole?

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Beth Henley is probably best known for her play Crimes of the Heart which won several theatre awards, a pulitzer and an oscar nomination. Critically, she is generally touted for her work "preserving regional voices on the stage" (Mississippi Writers, 2007). In other words, she added a local color to the stage through her voice as a southern woman which is reflected in her characters. They are "real" in the sense that they are no larger than life and they reflect the common people of the south going through common struggles. Although shooting an abusive husband is not "common" in the sense that all people do it, the way it is dealt with in Crimes makes it approachable by the audience, and the audience is all to aware of the fact that these things do happen. We care about the characters because they are reflections of ourselves, and we laugh even through our tears because we know these people all too well.

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