The monster at the end of this thesis

Caffrey, Dan
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I’ve always written about monsters in my plays, and that hasn’t changed in grad school. But for the first time in my 20 or so years as a playwright, I’ve started to interrogate why I write about them, and how I can change my tactics within the medium to explore different sociopolitical themes and ideas, as well as my own life and humanity. Even though monsters have always been used by writers for greater thematic implications/messaging about society, I’ve only recently come around to embracing it in my own work. My thesis will trace this journey, with special attention paid to how I've begun pivoting monsters from being external plot devices to reflections of what's monstrous in our own, very human world.

This document will be broken up into seven chapters chronicling my relationship with monsters in my work, from my early playwriting days until now. Each chapter is named after a specific monster that corresponds with the subject matter. For example, the chapter where I revisit my gestative monster plays is titled CHESTBURSTERS—a reference to the film Alien. When we get to my play about the first documented shark attacks in the United States, we’re in THE SHARK FROM JAWS.