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Northwestern University Press

Selected Plays

Selected Plays

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The first African American woman to have a play professionally produced in New York City (Gold Through the Trees, in 1952), Alice Childress occupies an important but surprisingly under-recognized place in American drama. She herself rejected an emphasis on the pioneering aspects of her career, saying that "it's almost like it's an honor rather than a disgrace" and that she should "be the fiftieth and the thousandth by this point"-a remark that suggests the complexity and singularity of vision to be found in her plays. Childress worked as an actress before turning to playwriting in 1949, and she was a political activist all of her life.

Spanning the 1940s to the 1960s, the plays collected here are the ones Childress herself believed were her best, and offer a realistic portrait of the racial inequalities and social injustices that characterized these decades. Her plays often feature strong-willed female protagonists whose problems bring into harsh relief the restrictions faced by African American women. This is the first volume devoted exclusively to the work of a major playwright whose impact on the American theater was profound and lasting.

Author: Alice Childress
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Published: 04/19/2011
Pages: 272
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 1.10lbs
Size: 8.90h x 6.00w x 0.70d
ISBN: 9780810127517

About the Author
Alice Childress (1916--1994) was a playwright, novelist, and actress. Among her best-known plays are Trouble in Mind (1955), Wedding Band (1966), and Wine in the Wilderness (1969). She was the first African American woman to have a play professionally produced in New York City and the first woman to win an Obie Award for Best Play. She is also the author of A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich, a young-adult novel that was also made into a film.

Kathy A. Perkins is a Professor of Theatre at the University of Illinois. She is the editor of Black Female Playwrights: An Anthology of Plays before 1950, Black South African Women: An Anthology of Plays, and African Women Playwrights. She is co-editor of Contemporary Plays by Women of Color and Strange Fruit: Plays on Lynching by American Women. She has been an award-winning lighting designer for productions throughout the United States, Europe, and South Africa.
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