Noah D. Lelek

Date of Graduation

Summer 2008


Master of Arts in Theatre


Theatre and Dance

Committee Chair

Christopher Herr


personal narrative, scripting process, breast cancer, audience reception theory, drama therapy

Subject Categories

Theatre and Performance Studies


This thesis begins the process of deconstructing the relatively new form of theatre known as personal narrative, focusing on traumatic breast cancer narratives. Due to the negative psychological effects associated with a traumatic life event, this thesis proposes the use of writing, scripting, and performing to ease any negative effects associated with a traumatic event. This thesis analyzes and evaluates the personal and social benefits of scripting a personal narrative during and after a traumatic life event, looking particularly at two different breast cancer narratives entitled Menopause and Desire, or 452 Positions on Love and A Clean Breast of It, which were written and published by highly-regarded theatre and performance studies professors. It identifies the commonality in scripting techniques utilized to structure the narrative which include dissemination of narration, refrain, and bifurcation. The common themes and content possessed by these narratives include femininity, relationships, body image, and breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. These commonalities will be utilized to create a "template" for future use in the field of utilizing, writing, scripting, and performing a traumatic personal narrative for therapeutic benefit. The benefits of scripting, performing, and witnessing a traumatic personal narrative include: purging negative emotions, educating an audience about the proper coping mechanisms needed to overcome a traumatic life event, speaking on behalf of a marginalized group, and the process of moving from victim to victor of a traumatic event.


© Noah D. Lelek

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