Spinning into Butter

Overview

Set on a college campus in Vermont, Spinning into Butter is a new play by a major young American playwright that explores the dangers of both racism and political correctness in America today in a manner that is at once profound, disturbing, darkly comic, and deeply cathartic. Rebecca Gilman challenges our preconceptions about race relations, writing of a liberal dean of students named Sarah Daniels who investigates the pinning of anonymous, clearly racist letters on the door of one of the college's few African ...

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Spinning into Butter: A Play

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Overview

Set on a college campus in Vermont, Spinning into Butter is a new play by a major young American playwright that explores the dangers of both racism and political correctness in America today in a manner that is at once profound, disturbing, darkly comic, and deeply cathartic. Rebecca Gilman challenges our preconceptions about race relations, writing of a liberal dean of students named Sarah Daniels who investigates the pinning of anonymous, clearly racist letters on the door of one of the college's few African American students. The stunning discovery that there is a virulent racist on campus forces Sarah, along with other faculty members and students, to explore her feelings about racism, leading to surprising discoveries and painful insights that will rivet and provoke the reader as perhaps no play since David Mamet's Oleanna has done.

Spinning into Butter had its world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in May 1999 and will open at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center in New York in April 2000.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Splendid . . . A play of blistering force . . . [Gilman] is poised to have a major impact on the American theater." —Chris Jones, Variety

"An extraordinarily fresh, eloquent, and candid new play... by a writer of surprising gifts." —Richard Christiansen, Chicago Tribune

Library Journal
Gilman has received numerous awards for her plays, which include Glory of Living. Boy Gets Girl, which had its premiere in Chicago on March 16, 2000, considers what happens when a blind date turns into a living nightmare. This brilliant and thought-provoking new drama takes us into the life of Theresa, a New York City magazine reporter who suddenly finds herself being terrorized by a stalker after she rejects him. In Spinning into Butter, an unprecedented incident of racism on the campus of idyllic Belmont College, VT, forces Sarah Daniels, the liberal-minded dean of students, to confront her own demons of prejudice and fears while also exposing the shallow minds and insincerity of the other administrators. (An ironic plot twist reveals the significance of the play s title.) Here, Gilman challenges us to think about the dangers of racism and political correctness. Her skillful use of dialog to create character and move the plot is evident in both of these new plays, which are highly recommended for modern drama collections at public and academic libraries. Howard Miller, St. Louis Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780571199846
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 634,587
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Rebecca Gilman was born in Trussville, Alabama, a small town outside Birmingham. She briefly attended Middlebury College in Vermont in the early 1980s and has lived in Chicago since 1994, after she received a graduate degree in theater from the University of Iowa.

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Read an Excerpt

Spinning into Butter

act one

The world premiere of Spinning into Butter was presented by the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, on May 16, 1999. The artistic director of the Goodman Theatre is Robert Falls; the executive director, Roche Schulfer. It was directed by Les Waters. Sets were designed by Linda Buchanan, costumes by Birgit Rattenborg Wise, and lighting by Robert Christen; the sound design and music were by Rob Milburn and Larry Schanker. The cast, in order of appearance, was as follows:

Spinning into Butter was first produced in New York by Lincoln Center Theater (André Bishop, artistic director, and Bernard Gersten, executive producer) at the Mitzi E. New-house Theater on July 27, 2000, in association with Lincoln Center Festival 2000. The play was directed by Daniel Sullivan. The set was designed by John Lee Beatty, costumes by Jess Goldstein, and lighting by Brian MacDevitt; the original music and sound were by Dan Moses Schreier. The cast, in order of appearance, was as follows:

Characters

DEAN SARAH DANIELS, thirty-five to forty

PATRICK CHIBAS, nineteen

ROSS COLLINS, thirty-five to forty

DEAN BURTON STRAUSS, fifty-five

DEAN CATHERINE KENNEY, sixty

MR. MEYERS, fifty

GREG SULLIVAN, twenty-one

Time and place

Belmont College, Belmont, Vermont, in the present

Copyright © 2000 by Rebecca Gilman

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