1st Edition

Suzan-Lori Parks in Person
Interviews and Commentaries

ISBN 9780415624930
Published November 26, 2013 by Routledge
228 Pages

USD $51.95

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Book Description

This collection of interviews offers unprecedented insight into the plays and creative works of Suzan-Lori Parks, as well as being an important commentary on contemporary theater and playwriting, from jazz and opera to politics and cultural memory.

Suzan-Lori Parks in Person contains 18 interviews, some previously untranscribed or specially undertaken for this book, plus commentaries on her work by major directors and critics, including Liz Diamond, Richard Foreman, Bonnie Metzgar and Beth Schachter. These contributions combine to honor the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in drama, and explore her ideas about theater, history, race, and gender.

Material from a wide range of sources chronologically charts Parks’s career from the 1990s to the present. This is a major collection with immediate relevance to students of American/African-American theater, literature and culture. Parks’s engaging voice is brought to the fore, making the book essential for undergraduates as well as scholars.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


PART I: Interviews

Theater’s Vibrant New Voice (1992)

Patti Hartigan

Is Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks the Voice of the Future? (1993)

Erika Munk

Suzan-Lori Parks (1994)

Han Ong

Alien Nation (1994)

Michele Pearce

Making History (1996)

Tom Sellar

For Posterior’s Sake (1996)

Una Chaudhuri

Adrienne Kennedy (1996)

Suzan-Lori Parks

Interview with Suzan-Lori Parks (1996)

Shelby Jiggetts

Love and War Seen in Black and White (1997)

Ronni Gordon

Suzan-Lori Parks (1999)

David Savran

An Interview with Suzan-Lori Parks at Cal Arts (2000)

Lisa Colletta

A Better Mirror (2000)

Kathy Sova

Mythology, History, Family, Performance (2001)

Rick DesRochers

A Moment with…Suzan-Lori Parks, playwright (2003)

John Marshall

Interview with Suzan-Lori Parks and Bonnie Metzgar (2006)

Joseph Roach

It’s an Oberammergau Thing (2007)

Kevin J. Wetmore

An Interview with Suzan-Lori Parks (2010)

Shawn-Marie Garrett

Conversation with Suzan-Lori Parks (2011)

Dave Steakley


PART II: Commentaries

Remarks on Parks I (2004)

Jonathan Kalb, Robert Brustein, Shawn-Marie Garrett, Mark Robinson, Alisa Solomon

Remarks on Parks II (2004)

Jonathan Kalb, Richard Foreman, Liz Diamond, Leah C. Gardiner, Bill Walters

The Birth of The Death of the Last Black Man: Recollections of the First Staging (2013)

Beth Schachter

An Interview with Liz Diamond (2013)

Philip C. Kolin

Bonnie Metzgar on Suzan-Lori Parks (2013)

Harvey Young

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Philip C. Kolin is the University Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts and Letters at The University of Southern Mississippi. He has published more than 40 books and 200 articles and is the editor of the Southern Quarterly.

Harvey Young is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Northwestern University. His books include Theatre & Race (2013) and Embodying Black Experience (2010).


'Will definitely fill a wide and gaping lacuna in this field of theatre scholarship.' - Dr Alison Forsythe, University of Aberystwyth, UK

'This volume will be essential reading for anyone interested in American Drama.' - Soyica Colbert, Dartmouth College, UK

'This collection will serve as a very helpful co-text for readers of Parks’s notoriously “difficult” plays, as it gives background and context, as well as possible readings of some of the more cryptic lines and figures.' -  Deborah Thompson, Colorado State University, Modern Drama

'Suzan-Lori Parks in Person: Interviews and Commentaries is an essential addition to dramatic literary scholarship, in that it provides a textured, critical--if penultimate--interactive means through which to meet Parks, as a dramatist, a thinker, and as a person whose work continues to probe human relations historically and presently, thoughtfully and dynamically.' - Jaye Austin Williams, California State University, Long Beach, Text & Presentation

'In total, Suzan-Lori Parks in Person is an engaging work that offers insights into the playwright's mind and work, from her undergraduate thesis to her Pulitzer Prize-winning Topdog/Underdog and her international project 365 Days/365Plays. Kolin and Young provide texts that explore not only how she works but also how she develops seeds of ideas into fully realized productions.' - Valerie M. Joyce, Villanova University, Comparative Drama