Fefu and Her Friends

ISBN: 155554052X
ISBN 13: 9781555540524
By: Maria Irene Fornes

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About this book

This is one of the best-loved Off-Off-Broadway plays of recent decades. In the innovative original production, which Fornes herself directed, the audience follows the lives of eight women in five different "environments.” "Fornes is America's truest poet of the theater."—Erika Munk, Village Voice

Reader's Thoughts


I think there's a lot about this play that I don't get from a first reading, I suspect I would need to see it well performed (which I think I've said about the past several plays I've written reviews of here). However, I do like the shifts in staging, which is a really cool feature of this particular play. The play consists of three sections, the first and third in a living room, while the second takes place in four different places--the lawn, the study, the bedroom, and the kitchen--and the audience rotates through the four locations as the scene is performed four times. This challenges the model of theatre space that has dominated British and American theatre since the Restoration, the idea of a single, unified stage space where the action happens in front of stationary spectators. Fefu and Her Friends moves toward an environmental theatre model, where the distinctions between audience and performance space breaks down, but this play explores that break down in a really unique way.

Robert Beveridge

Maria Irene Fornes, Fefu and Her Friends (PAJ Publications, 1978)Okay, I will admit it right up front: I have absolutely no idea what is going on in the last act of this play, and I have done absolutely no digging on the web in order to uncover any random “what does this mean?” threads that might be hanging around. I simply let it wash over me and took it based on its merits as a written document. I should probably go looking at some point, because I liked it enough anyway to give it a strong recommend even without knowing what's going on. The characters are crisp, the dialogue zingy, the action surprisingly playful given the overall dark tone here. I don't think this is one you need to “get” in order to enjoy. Take it the same way I did—just admire it for what it is, which seems to be “obtuse”. *** ½ (For the record, after I finished writing this, I did google it, and it seems my incomprehension was not nearly as rare as I thought it was.)


If I ever have access to a spacious city loft, eight talented women actors who can be in a room together, and a couple thousand bucks in search of a project, this is absolutely my play of choice. Fornes is a BAMF.


My favorite play of all time...

Sarah Barry

This is play is very strange, but for some reason I love it. It's really hard to explain unless you read it, but I would definitely recommend it.


fascinating set-up, to moving the audience to different scenes simultaneously. I definitely need to read it again, there are so many subtleties to take in.


Strange little play from the surrealist 70s. Made me think, even if I don't quite know what.

Roy Perez

changed my mode of reading.


Totally abstract... Odd. A.maze.ing. Monologues. HAVE to do one of them (near the end, death and guardians beautiful) pretty words, pretty friendships, surreal outcomes.


I really loved this one!


I loved this play. It did really innovative stuff with staging while not doing too much to scare an audience away. I was also struck by the relevance of a play written in the 60s about the 30s in todays world.

Andrew Hackler

Fefu and Her Friends is an intriguing work of Feminist fiction that grabs the audience and shows them the life of the feminist in mid-1930’s. This play gives light to the feminist struggle to fight against oppression. It shows the toll that the feminist takes. What this play taught me as a writer is the usage of audience. This play moves the audience from scene to scene a method of participation I might have never come up with the idea.


This powerful and subtly feminist piece has some very powerful moments in it. Would be a fantastic play to experiment with.

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