Romantic Plays with Female in Pursuit
June 26, 2008 9:18 PM   Subscribe

Can you think of classic or commonly known plays where the woman pursues the man assertively, if not aggressively?

I'm trying to compile a list of plays where a female lead pursues a man who is either resistant or ignorant of her attentions. I want something where the female part is extremely passionate and involved, perhaps chasing the fellow.
I'm thinking of something like the storyline of Hermia & Lysander in Midsummer Night's Dream.
It doesn't necessarily need to be a hetero situation, either, I suppose. I'm really interested in something where the female is extremely interested and the male is not. The end results of the romance don't matter.
posted by Rae Datter to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
She Stoops to Conquer?
posted by thomas j wise at 9:23 PM on June 26, 2008

Fatal Attraction?
posted by mosk at 9:27 PM on June 26, 2008

Oops...overlook'd the "stage play" requirement.
posted by mosk at 9:28 PM on June 26, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you, yes, stage plays please. I couldn't remember the plot from She Stoops, so have to go look into that further. Fatal Attraction is a fine example, but I really need something more likely to be a play on a stage
posted by Rae Datter at 9:30 PM on June 26, 2008

As You Like It
posted by Electrius at 9:30 PM on June 26, 2008

Thoroughly Modern Millie might be another that qualifies.
posted by mosk at 9:31 PM on June 26, 2008

"twelfth night"
posted by violetk at 9:42 PM on June 26, 2008

Carmen? At least until he is persuaded to be interested in her, at which point she loses interest in him.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:53 PM on June 26, 2008

Cyrano de Bergerac: Roxane basically tells Cyrano to get Christian to court her, forces a quick marriage to avoid another suitor and then follows her new husband into battle. Of course, she is chasing the wrong guy but...
posted by Macduff at 9:53 PM on June 26, 2008

A little different from the other examples offered here.. Golden Child is a play which involves three wives struggling for their husband's attention. (It's a bit more complicated than that, as you can see from the reviews on the Amazon page.)
posted by Ms. Saint at 9:58 PM on June 26, 2008

Eh, it gets pretty aggressive in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf", but that's probably not the kind of "romantic" you're looking for.....
posted by availablelight at 10:17 PM on June 26, 2008

Neil LaBute's The Shape Of Things.
posted by gac at 10:22 PM on June 26, 2008

This is a subplot of The Importance of Being Earnest - it has a girl pursuing a guy aggressively, solely because of his name.
posted by blindcarboncopy at 10:37 PM on June 26, 2008

Abagail pursues John Proctor for part of The Crucible.
posted by Bromius at 10:56 PM on June 26, 2008

"Man and Superman" by George Bernard Shaw, in which a vivacious young woman relentlessly pursues a seemingly disinterested man for 3 acts. She even follows him to Spain!

Shaw had a theory that women represent "The Life Force" and are always the ones who pursue men, rather than the other way around. The lengthy Preface to "Man and Superman" spells this out in more detail and includes this interesting theory about Shakespeare:

"In Shakespeare's plays the woman always takes the initiative. [...] The love interest is in the interest of seeing the woman hunt the man down. She may do it by blandishment, like Rosalind, or by stratagem like Mariana; but in every case the relation between the woman and the man is the same: she is the pursuer and contriver, he the pursued and disposed of. When she is baffled, like Ophelia, she goes mad and commits suicide."

(Rosalind = As You Like It; Mariana = All's Well That Ends Well.)
posted by clair-de-lune at 12:07 AM on June 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

oops, Mariana = Measure For Measure. I always get those two problem plays mixed up.
posted by clair-de-lune at 12:07 AM on June 27, 2008

Just about any classic British farce you can think of. Look to Noel Coward for starters.

Also, "Lend Me a Tenor" has both female leads pursuing the male leads.
posted by backseatpilot at 4:01 AM on June 27, 2008

clair-de-lune - I was going to say All's Well that Ends Well!
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:36 AM on June 27, 2008

"Picnic" ("Marry me, Howard!")
posted by grumblebee at 5:58 AM on June 27, 2008

Also a subplot of "Damn Yankees," if you are including musicals in your list.
posted by Spyder's Game at 10:17 AM on June 27, 2008

"Village Wooing" also by Shaw
posted by canoehead at 11:40 AM on June 27, 2008

posted by kittyprecious at 12:16 PM on June 27, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, all. There are many I haven't heard of and I'll have to do some research. Looks good!
posted by Rae Datter at 1:50 PM on June 27, 2008

Olivia in Twelfth Night, Julia in Two Gentlemen of Verona. If you stretch the definition to couples who are already together but the woman is aggressively seeking affection then Adriana in Comedy of Errors.
posted by zanni at 3:13 PM on June 28, 2008

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