In this critical study of Adrienne Kennedy, Philip C. Kolin explores the interrelationship of life and work of one of the most respected African American playwrights. For more than four decades Kennedy's theater has raised profound issues about race, gender, selfhood, and performativity in American culture - topics that Kolin explores throughout his reading of Kennedy's career. Making her challenging canon more accessible, Kolin offers in-depth analyses of her plays, political scripts, short fiction, and experimental autobiography, as well as examines her neglected novel, Deadly Triplets, and examples of her short fiction. Kolin maintains that Kennedy's plays accentuate the highly experimental theater of Off-Broadway. He traces the fates of Kennedy's young black and mulatta heroines in their quest for identity and self-worth in a white, prejudiced world ashe discusses her radical departure from traditional, sequential plots and consistent characterization and examines her concern with the harrowing territory of the subconscious - a chaotic world of shifting times, locations, and selves. Kolin argues that Kennedy is justly celebrated for representing her protagonists' fragmentary, conflicting psychological states, reflecting a host of white, black, and mulatta vantages, both historical and imagined. Recognizing Kennedy's work departs from that of such African American political activists of the 1960s as Amiri Baraka or Ed Bullins, Kolin demonstrates how her efforts - including Sun and Sleep Deprivation Chamber - challenge colonialist hegemonies of prejudice. He stresses that understanding her plays requires an understanding of her family and ethnic background, her politics, and even her nightmares. Kolin demonstrates that Kennedy's work runs deep with African rituals, Christian symbolism, classical mythology, realities of urban violence, and psychoanalysis, all of which have shaped her visionary and provocative canon.
Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 290 g
Dimensions: 178 x 127 x 25 mm