By the time of her death, at the tragically young age of thirty-four, Lorraine Hansberry had created two electrifying masterpieces of the American theater. With A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry gave this country its most movingly authentic portrayal of black family life in the inner city. Barely five years later, with The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, Hansberry gave us an unforgettable portrait of a man struggling with his individual fate in an age of racial and social injustice. These two plays remain milestones in the American theater, remarkable not only for their historical value but for their continued ability to engage the imagination and the heart.With an Introduction by Robert Nemiroff
At the heart of the play stands the ornately carved upright piano which, as the Charles family's prized, hard-won possession, has been gathering dust in the parlor of Berniece Charles's Pittsburgh home. When Boy Willie, Berniece's exuberant brother, bursts into her life with his dream of buying the same Mississippi land that his family had worked as slaves, he plans to sell their antique piano for the hard cash he needs to stake his future. But Berniece refuses to sell, clinging to the piano as a reminder of the history that is their family legacy. This dilemma is the real "piano lesson," reminding us that blacks are often deprived both of the symbols of their past and of opportunity in the present.
This first-of-its kind collection includes a wide range of works, from an early examination and critique of American society after World War II to plays that reflect socio-political concerns that kept pace with historical events, like the sit-in demonstrations, the bus boycotts, black nationalism, and the women's liberation movement. A hybrid of comedic forms including satire, farce, comedy of manners, romantic comedy, dark comedy, and tragicomedy are presented through vernacular language, stand-up performance art, masks, broad humor, as well as the minstrel show. Essays, articles and interviews complement this critical edition.
Anna Deavere Smith's extraordinary form of documentary theater shines a light on injustices by portraying the real-life people who have experienced them. In Notes from the Field, she renders a host of figures who have lived and fought the system that pushes students of color out of the classroom and into prisons. (As Smith has put it: "Rich kids get mischief, poor kids get pathologized and incarcerated.") Using people's own words, culled from interviews and speeches, Smith depicts Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant, who eulogized Freddie Gray; Niya Kenny, a high school student who confronted a violent police deputy; activist Bree Newsome, who took the Confederate flag down from the South Carolina State House grounds; and many others. Their voices bear powerful witness to a great iniquity of our time--and call us to action with their accounts of resistance and hope.
In reaction to the extraordinary events of the first hundred days of the presidency of Donald J. Trump, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks has created a unique and personal response to one of the most tumultuous times in our recent history--a play diary for each day of the presidency, to capture and explore the events as they unfolded. Known for her distinctive lyrical dialogue and powerful sociopolitical themes, Parks's 100 Plays for the First Hundred Days is the powerful and provocative everyman's guide to the Trumpian universe of uncertainty, confusion, and chaos.