Academy Award-winning screenwriter of the film American Beauty and creator of the HBO series Six Feet Under, Alan Ball has consistently probed the cultural forces shaping gender, sexuality, and death in the United States. Through gritty dialogue and edgy humor, Ball centers much of his social critique on the illusory promises of the American Dream. For many of his characters, a belief in the American Dream--including idealized notions of the family, heterosexual norms, and the acceptance of prescribed gender roles--proves stifling and self-destructive.
This is the first book to explore Ball's writings for theater, television and film, with an emphasis on his best-known work. These essays offer insight into both the captivating and problematic dimensions of Ball's work, while drawing connections among his diverse writings. An interview with Ball is included.