Seven Black Plays: The Theodore Ward Prize for African-American Playwriting

Overview

Awarded annually since 1987, the Theodore Ward Prize recognizes the outstanding individual accomplishments of African American playwrights, as well as their growing importance to the shape and direction of American drama in our time. This collection, edited by a director and educator who has been affiliated with the contest for fifteen of its seventeen years, showcases a selection of the award-winning plays and offers a rich and varied view of the best of two decades of evolving...

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Overview

Awarded annually since 1987, the Theodore Ward Prize recognizes the outstanding individual accomplishments of African American playwrights, as well as their growing importance to the shape and direction of American drama in our time. This collection, edited by a director and educator who has been affiliated with the contest for fifteen of its seventeen years, showcases a selection of the award-winning plays and offers a rich and varied view of the best of two decades of evolving African American drama.

These seven plays, which span the Ward Prize's history, represent a wide range of talents, experience, and perspectives brought to bear on diverse themes, from a unique moment in the history of baseball's Negro League to a working-class couple contending with a neighborhood bully; from a child's memories of negotiating desegregation to coming of age amidst the ravages of racism, child abuse, and AIDS. By turns poetic and moving, brave and rousing, uproarious and unsettling, these works written by established and emerging playwrights allow actors, directors, theatergoers, and readers to sample the multifarious dramatic experience being limned by African American playwrights today.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810120457
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2004
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Chuck Smith is a resident director at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, where his productions have included The Gift Horse, The Amen Corner, A Raisin in the Sun, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Black Star Line, A Christmas Carol, and The Meeting. Smith is also a faculty member in the Theater Department of Columbia College, Chicago.

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Table of Contents

Plays: The Last Season, [Negro League - baseball] Christopher Moore; Fathers and Other Strangers, [psychiatrist, phychological realism] Jeff Stetson; Jelly Belly, [domestic drama set in South Side of Chicago, 1980] Charles Smith; North Star, [civil rights, family drama] Gloria Bond Clunie; Hambone, [truth] Javon Johnson; The Gift Horse, [young woman's search for identity] Lydia Diamond; Kiwi Black, [father-son relationship] Shepsu Aakhu (Reggie Lawrence).

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2005

    Highly recommended for any theater library

    Since the early part of the 20th century, Chicago has been a national leader in the production of black theater. There are currently six black companies, and black productions are regularly featured at the three Tony Award-winning regional theater companies. Theodore Ward (1902 - 1983) mentored and encouraged many aspiring dramatists in Chicago from 1968 until his death. To honor Ward, and to aid black playwrites in the development and production of scripts, Columbia College Chicago established the Theodore Ward Prize for African American Playwriting in 1985. Only full-length plays addressing the African American are considered, and the playwright must be of African American descent. Since one of the goals is to uncover and identify new works, scripts which have received professional production are not eligible. This anthology of prize-winning plays is the first in a series to be published every three years. Compiled and edited by Chuck Smith (currently Resident Director at Chicago¿s Goodman Theater, and affiliated with the prize for fifteen years) it presents seven plays spanning nearly two decades, with diverse subject matter and treatments. Christopher Moore¿s ¿The Last Season¿ (First Prize 1987-88) immerses us in the final days of the Negro Leagues. The most recent offering, Shepsu Aakhu¿s ¿Kiwi Black¿ ( First Prize 2001-02) tells the story of adolescent son coming of age under the watchful eye of a tough-love father. But my synopses can¿t possibly do these scripts justice. Highly recommended for any theater library!

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