The America Play

Overview

Once upon a time there was a theme park called the Great Hole of History. It was a popular spot for honeymooners who, in search of "post-nuptial excitement," would visit this hole and watch the daily historical parades. One of these visitors was a man who has now come to call himself The Foundling Father. He was a digger by trade—a grave digger—and he was struck by the size of the Hole and the pageantry of the place. He returns home with his wife, Lucy, a woman who keeps secrets for the dead, and together they ...
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Overview

Once upon a time there was a theme park called the Great Hole of History. It was a popular spot for honeymooners who, in search of "post-nuptial excitement," would visit this hole and watch the daily historical parades. One of these visitors was a man who has now come to call himself The Foundling Father. He was a digger by trade—a grave digger—and he was struck by the size of the Hole and the pageantry of the place. He returns home with his wife, Lucy, a woman who keeps secrets for the dead, and together they start a mourning business. Unfortunately, our hero can't get the Great Hole pageantry out of his head; the echoes of history speak to him and call him to greatness. At rise we meet this Foundling Father. He has left his wife and child and gone out west to dig a huge replica of the Great Hole of History. In the hole sits our hero. He is dressed like Abraham Lincoln, complete with beard, wart, frock coat and stove pipe hat. He tells us the story of his own life (in the third person) and tells us that he has become a very successful Abraham Lincoln impersonator! He's so successful that people actually pay a penny to re-enact Lincoln's assassination, using our impostor-hero and a phony gun. Eventually the Father dies, and the second act sees his wife Lucy and thrity-five-year-old son, Brazil, a professional weeper, visit the hole to dig for his Father's remains. Listening to the past through her deaf-horn, Lucy hears echoes of gunshots and lurid stage-shows. When they dig up the Foundling Father's body (he's alive) they decide they have to lay him to rest for good. In the play's last image, his son is trying to climb a ladder out of the Hole of History while the Foundling Father sitsstarkly on his own coffin, refusing burial.
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Editorial Reviews

NY Observer
Is there a more generous, compelling talent on either side of the Atlantic than Suzan-Lori Parks? She's the natural heir to Beckett (and the only playwright worthy of the accolade)...Within the dramatist's playfulness and punning and Joycean delight in language—between the spoken lines, in a startling fresh image or the ricocheting echo of a gunshot—is an entire, tragic universe. She has written the most staggering American play imaginable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822214236
  • Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/1995
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 607,125
  • Product dimensions: 50.00 (w) x 72.50 (h) x 2.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Suzan-Lori Parks
Suzan-Lori Parks
Pearl Cleage, author of the Oprah favorite What Looks like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, praised Suzan-Lori Parks and her debut novel, Getting Mother's Body: "With a playwright’s ear, a novelist’s eye, and a passionate appreciation for the complex magic of everyday women, Suzan-Lori Parks spins a story whose characters are as mysterious and sexy as lace curtains billowing at the bedroom window."

Good To Know

In our interview with Parks, we asked her to share three fun facts about herself. She replied:

1. Yes, my hair is real—I grew it myself.

2. I went to secretarial school to learn how to type.

3. I'm a yoga devotee.

More about Parks:

Her first feature film was 1996's Girl 6, directed by Spike Lee.

She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband, blues musician Paul Scher, and their pit bull, Lambchop.

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    1. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 10, 1963
    2. Place of Birth:
      Fort Knox, Kentucky
    1. Education:
      B.A., Mt. Holyoke College, 1985
    2. Website:

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