'The impressive array of scholars gathered in this collection, all experts in the field, read the plays with nuance and situate them deftly within their cultural and historical contexts. Scholars of contemporary theater and drama and of African American literature will find value in this engaging collection.' – Choice
'For students and scholars of American theatre and drama generally and African American theatre and drama most particularly, this is an extremely valuable critical source.' – Harry Elam, Stanford University, USA
In the last fifty years, American and World theatre has been challenged and enriched by the rise to prominence of numerous female African American dramatists. Contemporary African American Women Playwrights is the first critical volume to explore the contexts and influences of these writers, and their exploration of black history and identity through a wealth of diverse, courageous and visionary dramas.
Kolin compiles a wealth of new essays, comprising:
- Yale scholar David Krasner on the dramatic legacy of Lorraine Hansberry, Zora Neale Hurston, Marita Bonner and Georgia Douglas Johnson
- individual chapters devoted to: Alice Childress, Sonia Sanchez, Adrienne Kennedy, Ntozake Shange, Pearl Cleage, Aishah Rahman, Glenda Dickerson, Anna Deavere Smith and Suzan Lori-Parks
- an essay and accompanying interview with Lynn Nottage
- comprehensive discussion of attendant theatrical forms, from choreopoems and surrealistic plays, to documentary theatre and civil rights dramas, and their use in challenging racial and gender hierarchies.
Contributors: Brandi Wilkins Catanese, Soyica Diggs, James Fisher, Freda Scott Giles, Joan Wylie Hall, Philip C. Kolin, David Krasner, Sandra G. Shannon, Debby Thompson, Beth Turner and Jacqueline Wood.
Table of Contents
Introduction Philip C. Kolin 1. "Something's going on here that concerns me": Johnson, Hurston, Bonner, and Hansberry David Krasner 2. Dialectical Dialogues: Performing Blackness in the Drama of Alice Childress Soyica Diggs 3. "Shaking Loose": Sonia Sanchez's Militant Drama Jacqueline Wood 4. American History/African Nightmares: Adrienne Kennedy and Civil Rights Philip C. Kolin 5. "Boogie Woogie Landscapes: The Dramatic/Poetic Collage of Ntozake Shange James Fisher 6. The Feminist/Womanist Vision of Pearl Cleage Beth Turner 7. "We must keep on writing": The Plays of Aishah Rahman Brandi Wilkins Catanese 8. Glenda Dickerson’s Nu Shu: Combining Feminist Discourse/Predagogy/Theatre Freda Scott Giles 9. "Everybody's Talking": Anna Deavere Smith's Documentary Theater Joan Wylie Hall 10. Diggin the Fo'-Fathers: Suzan-Lori Parks's Histories Debby Thompson 11. An Intimate Look at the Plays of Lynn Nottage Sandra G. Shannon 12.An Interview with Lynn Nottage Sandra G. Shannon Notes on Contributors
Philip C. Kolin is Professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has published more than 35 books including Understanding Adrienne Kennedy (2005), The Tennessee Williams Encyclopedia (2004), and Othello: New Critical Essays (Routledge, 2001). He is general editor of the Routledge book series Shakespeare Criticism. He is also a poet who has published three books of verse.
'The impressive array of scholars gathered in this collection, all experts in the field, read the plays with nuance and situate them deftly within their cultural and historical contexts. Scholars of contemporary theater and drama and of African American literature will find value in this engaging collection.' - Choice
'This resource is invaluable to the drama/theatre teacher... This [treatment of themes] makes the collection useful to a much wider range of academics and other professionals.' - Multicultural Review
'Compelling... the eminently readable essays are interesting and accessible for students and scholars of theatre and a broader readership interested in how theatre is informed by by the cultural politics of race in the USA.' - New Theatre Quarterly
'Philip C. Kolin has assembled a compelling and eclectic collection of essays that are well researched and revealing. The volume should prove a welcome addition to scholars and provide a useful introduction to the diversity of Parks’s canon for students of American theatre.' - Modern Drama