Elinor Fuchs, a trailblazing theater scholar, critic, and playwright, passed away on May 28, 2024, at the age of 91. She was the author or editor of five groundbreaking books, including The Death of Character: Reflections on Theater After Modernism, which won the prestigious George Jean Nathan Award in Dramatic Criticism, and Land/Scape/Theater, co-edited with Una Chaudhuri. Her memoir, Making an Exit, explored the complexities of dementia and aging.

Throughout her career, Professor Fuchs published countless scholarly articles in anthologies and journals, as well as theater criticism in The Village Voice, American Theatre, and The Theatre Times. Her documentary play, Year One of the Empire: A Play of American War, Politics, and Protest, co-written with historian Joyce Antler, premiered in Los Angeles to critical acclaim, winning the Drama-Logue “Best Play” Award and enjoying a successful New York run in 2008.

Renowned for her seminal work on dramatic structure, postmodern, and postdramatic theatre, Professor Fuchs received numerous accolades, including the Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award, the Excellence in Editing and Outstanding Article awards from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and the Betty Jean Jones Teaching Award from the American Theatre and Drama Society.

A passionate educator and mentor, she taught at Harvard, Columbia, Emory, New York University, and the Institut für Theatrewissenschaft of the Free University in Berlin. Her dedication to her craft was recognized with a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship for independent study, a Bunting fellowship, and a fellowship in Age Studies at the Center for 20th Century Study of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

A long-time professor of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale School of Drama, Elinor Fuchs leaves behind an extraordinary legacy as one of the most influential and insightful theater scholars of our time, and a staggeringly long list of students, many of whom have in their turn become familiar names in theater scholarship. Her seminal book, Death of Character, revolutionized the way that theatre scholars and dramaturgs viewed and conceived of dramatic character in twentieth-century theatre, and her iconic essay, “EF’s Visit To a Small Planet” about how to read and interpret the play, has become a staple in play analysis courses across the country and the world.

Professor Fuch’s work often focused on the changing nature of theatrical representation, the relationship between theater and other art forms, and the role of the spectator in contemporary performance. Through her teaching, writing and mentorship, she inspired generations of scholars, theatre critics, and dramaturgs. Her profound impact on the field of theater studies, her unwavering commitment to her students, and her groundbreaking scholarship will be remembered and celebrated for decades to come.

This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.

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