Tyler Perry and the rhetoric of Madea: Contrasting performances of Pleading lady as she appears on stage and screen


In this essay, we will explore the variances in Madea’s character and presence on stage and on screen in both productions of Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail: The Play and Madea Goes to Jail. Specifically, we examine the multiple and varying ways in which the character of Madea performs for different audiences by examining how the roles of violence, religion and wisdom operate on stage and screen. Exploring the subtle—and at times, not-so-subtle—ways in which Madea’s performances differ from stage to screen, we suggest that Madea also performs as a text that Perry then uses to impart different messages to audiences of both stage and screen.

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