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May 24, 2018


Kitchen Sink Realism

by N@ncy

Author: Dorothy Chansky

Genre: non-fiction
Published: 2015
Rating: B

Domestic labor has figured largely on American stages.
The genre “kitchen sink realism” both supports and challenges
the idea that the home is naturally women’s sphere.

1920’s – popular plays staged the plight of women seeking escape from the daily domestic grind
Ambush (1921)
1930’s–  recognized housework as work!
Awake and Sing (1935)
1950’s – maids gained a complexity previously reserved only for leading ladies.
Member of the Wedding (1950)
1960’s – problems and comforts of domestic labor in homes took center stage.
Raisin in the Sun (1960)

This is comprehensive analysis of kitchen and sink realism. Dorothy Chansky highlights plays that I never heard of  – Mine Eyes Have Seen (1918),  – Aftermath (1919) –  and it took some effort to immerse myself in them. Chansky discusses more than 20 different plays!  I did discover 2 female playwrights I would like to read:
Rachel Crothers – one of the most successful dramatists first part of 20th C.
Georgia Douglas Johnson – one of the earliest African-American playwrights. She was a participant in Harlem Renaissance.
If you are interested in drama and the societal impact these plays have had in the 20th C…this  book is for you!

Read more from non-fiction, plays
3 Comments Post a comment
  1. omnivourousreaderbookreviews
    May 26 2018

    Good review, thank you.


    • May 27 2018

      Thanks for you kind words….! I love to read plays and kitchen sink genre has a long history depicting working-class domestic life. In the 21st C some playwrights are writing a new genre “in yer face drama’ depicting sex, violence, drug taking and ‘street life’ in general. I just finished a great play by Mary Anne Butler (Australian) ‘Broken’. Review is on Goodreads. The play was magnificent!



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