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Adrienne Kennedy

Author of Adrienne Kennedy in One Act

15+ Works 261 Members 5 Reviews 1 Favorited

Works by Adrienne Kennedy

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New American Plays: Volume 2 (1968) — Contributor — 5 copies

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A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White (1976)

To read A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White is one kind of experience, but to see it in creative design hands is entirely another. Rendering film scenes in black and white (that is, with performers, costumes, and sets in black, grey, and white tones) intercut with real life color scenes not only is visually stunning but also draws a stark contrast between the life of Clara and white society. If you are fortunate enough to live in a university town or city with a strong and adventurous performing arts program, you might one day get to see the play staged.

Clara, a young black woman, wants to be a writer and uses writing to express herself. She has no support for her ambition to be a writer, not from her family or her on-and-off again husband. Additionally, being a black woman, she has little to no identity, that is apart from the very restrictive role framed for her by her family and white society. She really is, like a symbol in the play, a bird wishing to be free but trapped in a cage. In this play, she appears to be writing as we watch, telling her story, her fears during pregnancy, her relationship with her husband, the trials of her family, as well as the pressure they exert on her, and her caged status as black and female in mid 20th century America.

Clara relates her experiences and feelings in a nonlinear and often repetitive style. Further, for the most part, she talks through film stars in a number of specific films and scenes within those films. We have the sense that talking through the white actors in the scenes is the only way Clara can have her words heard. Moreover, while these scenes feature famous male and female actors (Bette Davis and Paul Henreid, Now Voyager; Jean Peters and Marlon Brando, Viva Zapata!; and Shelley Winters and Montgomery Clift, A Place in the Sun), only the females speak. It’s Clara telling her story, true, but it is also a reversal of gender roles with women speaking their truth without interference from men.

If you do live near a university with a good performing arts, you may one day have the opportunity to see the play staged. Should you have the chance, be sure to take it. In the meantime, you can read the play, along with her others works, in this reader.
… (more)
 
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write-review | 2 other reviews | Nov 4, 2021 |
A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White (1976)

To read A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White is one kind of experience, but to see it in creative design hands is entirely another. Rendering film scenes in black and white (that is, with performers, costumes, and sets in black, grey, and white tones) intercut with real life color scenes not only is visually stunning but also draws a stark contrast between the life of Clara and white society. If you are fortunate enough to live in a university town or city with a strong and adventurous performing arts program, you might one day get to see the play staged.

Clara, a young black woman, wants to be a writer and uses writing to express herself. She has no support for her ambition to be a writer, not from her family or her on-and-off again husband. Additionally, being a black woman, she has little to no identity, that is apart from the very restrictive role framed for her by her family and white society. She really is, like a symbol in the play, a bird wishing to be free but trapped in a cage. In this play, she appears to be writing as we watch, telling her story, her fears during pregnancy, her relationship with her husband, the trials of her family, as well as the pressure they exert on her, and her caged status as black and female in mid 20th century America.

Clara relates her experiences and feelings in a nonlinear and often repetitive style. Further, for the most part, she talks through film stars in a number of specific films and scenes within those films. We have the sense that talking through the white actors in the scenes is the only way Clara can have her words heard. Moreover, while these scenes feature famous male and female actors (Bette Davis and Paul Henreid, Now Voyager; Jean Peters and Marlon Brando, Viva Zapata!; and Shelley Winters and Montgomery Clift, A Place in the Sun), only the females speak. It’s Clara telling her story, true, but it is also a reversal of gender roles with women speaking their truth without interference from men.

If you do live near a university with a good performing arts, you may one day have the opportunity to see the play staged. Should you have the chance, be sure to take it. In the meantime, you can read the play, along with her others works, in this reader.
… (more)
 
Flagged
write-review | 2 other reviews | Nov 4, 2021 |
A one-act play about a disturbed African-American woman who wants to be white, and who peoples her fantasy world with such noted individuals as Queen Victoria, Patrice Lamumba, and Jesus. She tells us her life story through a series of surreal images, and sinks rapidly into madness. The twist ending reveals that she may have been living an even greater fantasy than we thought.
½
 
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Devil_llama | Jun 2, 2014 |
I read parts of this text as part of a course on trauma in literature. The plays are amazing in their own right, and powerful in light of trauma theory.
 
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brokensnowpea | 2 other reviews | Sep 20, 2008 |

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Works
15
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4
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261
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Rating
4.1
Reviews
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ISBNs
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