Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair/Advisor

Nic Brown

Committee Member

Clare Mullaney

Committee Member

Carol Collins


Sarah Ruhl, as a contemporary American playwright, has established her career with a signature style of poetic playfulness. By blending poetry with playwriting, engaging with both poetic and theatrical constraints, Ruhl’s stage directions emerge as open-ended opportunities for staging. This essay approaches Ruhl through a disability studies reading to consider the ways in which her dramatic style invites new questions on playwriting and accessibility in theatre. This attention to accessibility is informed by disability studies writer and activist, Mia Mingus, and her notion of “access intimacy.” As Mingus’ access intimacy articulates access in terms of building community, this essay uses that framework to think of what Ruhl’s stage directions mean for theatre as a community as well. This essay functions as the production notes for a sample of playwriting that draws from research on Emily Dickinson’s poetry and status as a figure of disability.



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