Megan Terry Additional Biography


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Megan Terry was born in Seattle, Washington, on July 22, 1932, as Marguerite Duffy. Throughout grade school, Terry was fascinated with the theater, and she was exposed at an early age to the influence of the Seattle Repertory Playhouse. In 1951, the theater closed under pressure from a state committee investigating so-called un-American activities, an event that both radicalized the young Terry and confirmed her in her view of the theater as a powerful political tool. Terry received a B.Ed. from the University of Washington, and she taught at the Cornish School of Allied Arts. She traveled to New York, where she became involved with the Playwrights’ Unit Workshop, which included Edward Albee, Richard Barr, and Clinton Wilder, in the 1963 production of Ex-Miss Copper Queen on a Set of Pills, a work based on her fascination with a pill-popping prostitute who had once been a beauty queen. Terry’s career includes several attempts at realistic drama, including Hothouse and an early version of Attempted Rescue on Avenue B, but she found that she wanted to create new techniques for conveying her messages about the destructiveness of the United States’ economic and political power structures. In working with the Open Theatre on Calm Down Mother and Keep Tightly Closed in a Cool Dry Place, Terry created two of her most successful one-act transformation plays. Using three female actors, Calm Down Mother explored what is possible for women and what role limitations women encounter in society. In a similar fashion, Keep Tightly Closed in a Cool Dry Place used three male actors, whose characters begin in a prison setting and transform from gangsters to drag queens to soldiers, testing various kinds of enclosures, both imagined and real. Her fascination with sexuality appeared in another transformation play entitled...

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(American Culture and Institutions Through Literature, 1960-1969)

Early Life

Megan Terry (born Megan Duffy) has been involved with theater since she attended a Seattle Repertory Playhouse production when she was seven. During her teens, she spent considerable time at the Playhouse learning the craft of theater from Florence and Burton James. After high school, Terry studied at Banff School of Fine Arts, the University of Washington, and the University of Alberta in Edmonton. While teaching at the Cornish School of Allied Arts, she developed her philosophy of playwriting as improvisation. In the late 1950’s, Terry moved to New York where her career as a playwright developed and flourished.

The 1960’s

During the 1960’s, Terry was both active...

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(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Megan Terry, the daughter of Joseph Duffy, Jr., and Marguerite Cecelia (née Henry) Duffy, was born Marguerite (Megan) Duffy; she changed her last name to Terry in homage to her Welsh heritage. Speaking of her great-grandmother, who with her seven children crossed the country in a covered wagon, Terry once said “I come from a pioneer culture, so I’m kind of different from people raised in the East. Women worked side by side with the men. I was taught to build houses. . . . My grandfather was a great engineer who built bridges and railroads. I grew up using tools. I think that’s important.” Terry has spoken of the women in her life who were particularly influential: her mother, grandmothers, aunts, great-aunts, and cousins,...

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(Drama for Students)

Megan Terry, an internationally recognized playwright and prolific writer who has created over sixty plays, is often referred to as the...

(The entire section is 545 words.)