Yvonne Shafer became interested in theatre as a child when she acted the role of a gypsy but was unconvincing because of her blonde hair and blue eyes. Her present interest is in writing about theatre and acting. She performs three Performance/Lecture presentations: “American Women Playwrights,” “Eugene O’Neill Onstage,” and “Tennessee Williams’ South.” These have been performed at Amerika Haus in Berlin, other locations in Germany, in universities in Brussels, Canada, and the United States. She also performed the first of these for the Mint Theatre in New York City. Recently she has enjoyed the privilege of presenting them in several universities in Spain, especially the Universitat de València.
Shafer’s first trip to Spain began in Merida. Since that time she has written several articles about Roman theatres in Merida and Sagunto. She enjoys writing about theatre architecture, actors, and theatre history. Her twelve books include American Women Playwrights, August Wilson, The Play’s the Thing (with Marvin Carlson), Approaches to Teaching Ibsen’s ‘A Doll House,’ Performing O’Neill: Interviews with Actors and Directors, and Henrik Ibsen: Life and Work. She was particularly thrilled to have two books published by the Universitat de València Press: The Changing American Theatre: Mainstream and Marginal, Past and Present, and Eugene O’Neill and American Society.
Shafer earned her B.A. at the University of California at Santa Barbara and her Ph.D. at the University of Iowa both of which were noted for their theatre programs. She has taught at several universities including The University of Georgia, The University of Delaware, The Ohio State University, and The University of California at Santa Barbara. She had a Fulbright Professorship in Brussels and taught at Nanjing University in China. She enjoys presenting lectures in universities today on such subjects as the playwright August Wilson, Eugene O’Neill’s plays, Henrik Ibsen, and actresses in Shakespearean theatre.
Shafer enjoys spending a month each year in Berlin seeing plays, operas, and ballets and writing reviews of these for “European Stages.” She participates in conferences in the United States and abroad presenting papers such as “The Influence of Thornton Wilder’s ‘Our Town’ in Post War Germany” and “Looking For Laughs in O’Neill.” She also reviews plays for the newspaper in her small colonial village of New Castle, Delaware.
Shafer has taken nearly twenty trips to Spain and always leaves with regret. She studies and read Spanish at home. She looks forward to the opportunity of presenting more performances in Spanish universities in the future.