Questions

Gender and Sexuality in the musical “Rent” Take some time to critically think about and reflect upon the performance of “Rent. ” Answer the following questions thoughtfully, relating directly and specifically to the performance you saw and to course concepts. Your typed answers to these questions are due in class on Tuesday March 10th. 1 . In what ways do you think the characters in “Rent” offer images of men and women that break with traditional masculine and feminine gender norms both heterosexual and homosexual)?

In what ways does the Story portray these gender binaries still operating among the alternative gender performances? -Use the terms hegemonic masculinity, emphasized femininity, gender performance, and sexual script in your discussion of these questions. 2. In what specific ways do the themes of sexuality, love, and relationships in “Rent” differ from a standard “mainstream” portrayal of these topics? Are there similarities between the two?

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Think about this in terms of the concept of “sexual scripts” and “gendered sexual colonization” presented in Kismet and in lecture. 3. “Rent” offers a determination of the lives of a group of friends whose individual performances of gender, race, class, sexuality place them outside the norms or “boxes” in which society tries to place us all. What do you think the film’s message is about how difficult it is for people who try to live outside of these “boxes? What message do you think the film communicates to the audience about the rewards of lives lived outside of society binary norms of gender and sexuality? 4. From what is presented in the musical, and pages 415-417 in Kismet, what impact do you think the AIDS epidemic had on social norms of sexual behavior and views about homosexuality and gay people? 5. Much has been written about the main messages of the musical “Rent” and why it was such a success on Broadway when it opened in 1996 and continues to have such an appeal for some audiences.