This course will introduce students to Pulitzer-prize winning plays such as Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, groundbreaking plays such as Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls, as well as less known plays that show the wide range of form and themes in 20th and 21st century African American drama. We will focus on performance as a mode of interpreting a script and performance as a way of understanding the intersections of race, class, and gender.
In-class viewings of selected scenes in recorded productions of the plays will energize our analysis of the scripts. Short creative, performance-oriented writing assignments will produce the questions explored in the two critical essays.
In addition to Sweat and For Colored Girls, our line-up may include Zora Neale Hurston’s Color Struck, Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, Suzan-Lori Parks’ 100 Plays for the First Hundred Days, August Wilson’s Radio Golf, Lydia Diamond’s Harriet Jacobs, Amiri Baraka’s The Slave, and Claudia Rankine’s The White Card.