Get to Know Lynn Nottage’s Plays

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; 2011

A seventy year journey through the life of Vera Stark, a headstrong African American Maid and budding actress, and her tangled relationship with her boss,a white Hollywood star desperately grasping to hold onto her career. When circumstances collide and both women land roles in the same Southern epic, the story behind the cameras leaves Vera with a surprising and controversial legacy scholars will debate for years to come.

 

Ruined; 2008

In war-torn Congo, Mama Nadi keeps the peace between customers on both sides of the civil war by serving everything from cold beers to warm beds. This shrewd matriarch both protects and profits from the women whose bodies have become battlegrounds “ruined” by the brutality of government soldiers and rebel forces alike. This play is inspired by interviews conducted in Africa.

 

Fabulation; 2004

A social satire about an ambitious and haughty African-American woman, Undine Barnes Calles, whose husband suddenly disappears after embezzling all of her money. Pregnant and on the brink of social and financial ruin, Undine retreats to her childhood home in Brooklyn’s Walt Whitman projects, only to discover that she must cope with a crude new reality. Undine faces the challenge of transforming her setbacks into small victories in a battle to reaffirm her right to be. Fabulation is a comeuppance tale with a comic twist.

 

Intimate Apparel; 2003

A play about the empowerment of Esther, a proud and shy seamstress in 1905,New York, who creates exquisite lingerie for both Fifth Avenue boudoirs and tenderloin bordellos.  In her search for love, Esther learns to love herself.

 

Las Meninas; 2002

The true story of the illicit romance between Queen Marie-Therese (wife of Louis XIV) and her African servant, Nabo, a dwarf from Dahomey, and the hilarious consequences that scandalized the French court.

 

Mud, River, Stone; 1998

An African-American couple vacationing in Africa takes a turn off the main highway and find themselves stranded during rainy season in the remnants of a grand hotel. The rundown colonial hotel’s only inhabitants are a reticent bellhop and an outspoken white African businessman. As the rains  continue, the guest list grows to include a Nigerian aid worker at wits’ end and a Belgian adventurer wandering the landscape in search of meaning. The couple’s comic and romantic adventure takes on absurd dimensions when the hotel guests are taken hostage by the angry bellhop. His demands are simple: He wants grain for his village and a wool blanket for his mother.

 

Crumbs from the Table of Joy; 1995

Recently widowed Godfrey Crump, and his daughters Ernestine and Ermina, move from Florida to Brooklyn for a better life. Not knowing how to parent, Godfrey turns to religion, and especially to Father Divine, for answers. Lily, Godfrey’s sister-in-law, shows up from Harlem, having promised her sister that if anything ever happened, she’d look out for the girls.  As the racial and social issues of the late 1950s escalate, personal issues between Godfrey and Lily explode, prompting him to walk out. A few days later, he returns, with a new wife—a white, German immigrant, Gerte, and the Crump household is turned upside down.

 

Por’Knockers

In New York City, a group of idealistic political activists stage a bold act of civil disobedience and must live with the devastating consequences.

 

Poof!; 1993

A housewife copes with life a few moments after her abusive husband spontaneously combusts, leaving a pile of ash on the kitchen floor.

 

Visit her website to learn more about her work!

 
 

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