This essay uses the theoretical lens of queer performance theory to analyze L.B. Hamilton’s play, A Midnight Clear, to increase awareness of gendered violence and prejudice against feminine men-seeking-men (MSM). I first contextualize existing literature about sexual assault and the limited research about feminine men regarding sexual violence and assault. Then, I examine the components of queer performance theory, positing a metaphorical equation of combining both queer theory and performance theory to further understand the roots of queer performance theory. In this section, I also suggest the importance of representation and identity within a dramaturgical and theatrical-based lens from both an academic and personalized standpoint. Next, I provide an in-depth textual analysis of A Midnight Clear, using the lens of queer performance theory. In doing so, I specifically analyze the complex portrayals of sexual identity and gender performativity that both characters transition to and from within the play. This play challenges the social normativity of rape myths and assaults against feminine MSM and conversations that can occur regarding sexual assault experiences. My analysis includes mapping the changing gender performativity from masculinity to femininity and varied portrayals of sexual identities of both main characters within this piece, Luke and Paul. Each character creates portrayals that challenge the common hegemonic heterosexist society of both sexual identities and gender performance. The characters enact gender portrayals that range from masculine to that of a nurturing mother. Additionally, both characters display complex sexual identities that are not monolithic representations of sexuality but instead portrayals of sexual identity as fluid and dependent upon one’s partner. Finally, I draw implications from the analysis of Hamilton’s play in comparing the stereotypes of feminine performativity regarding the prejudice feminine MSM endure. I also consider limitations of this analysis regarding existing academic and scholarly research on violence specifically targeted towards feminine MSM. I conclude with future research directions concerning the importance of additional research of sexual assault, violence, and prejudice for feminine MSM.
South Dakota State University
Copyright © 2023 Skyllar Schoening
Schoening, Skyllar M., "“They hurt me Pauley:” Applying Queer Performance Theory within L.B. Hamilton’s Play A Midnight Clear to Understand Gendered Violence and Prejudice Against Feminine MSM" (2023). Schultz-Werth Award Papers. 38.