`THAT WASN'T JUST A PARTY:' RECONSIDERING THE PLAYS OF ROBERT CHESLEY
Gavrila, Rebecca Lynn
Carpenter, Faedra C
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"That Wasn't Just A Party: Reconsidering The Plays of Robert Chesley" is a reclamation project that is placing Robert Chesley as a significant voice of Gay and Sexual Liberation in the Post-Stonewall gay theatrical canon. As the majority of his plays were both unproduced and unpublished, this project serves to introduce a contemporary, mainstream audience to the dramatic writings of Robert Chesley. Chesley is best known for writing the first full-length AIDS play to be produced in the United States, Night Sweats. Unlike his contemporaries, Larry Kramer and William Hoffman, Chesley never saw his work cross-over into the commercial mainstream in part because of his commitment to staging graphic gay sex scenes. Sadly, Robert Chesley would become a victim of the AIDS crisis, dying in 1990. The political and artistic ideologies represented by Chesley's works are currently under-acknowledged within the gay American theatre canon. By exploring Robert Chesley and the way his work addressed the ideals of Sexual Liberation I am contributing to the discourse of gay cultural criticism and gay theatre history. The current gay theatre canon lacks a figure that represented this political ideology within his theatrical texts.