ECLIPSE THEATRE COMPANY
in Chicago is celebrating the work of Kia Corthron all through 2017. In the spring they produced Force Continuum, in the summer they presented the world premiere of Megastasis, and currently they are in rehearsals for the fall production of Breath, Boom.Selected Plays
Prix, the leader of a violent girls’ gang, makes booms on the street and loves booms in the sky: fireworks. But her destructive workaday world is gradually turned upside down by actions of her mother and of her “sisters,” and by confrontations with the consequences of her past. Commissioned by and world premiere at the Royal Court Theatre, London. New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons. Critic’s essay included in The Best Plays of 2001-2002 (Limelight Editions).
Relationship between two women in prison finding tenderness, love, and occasionally a mystical way out. Originally developed through a Long Wharf Theatre public workshop. Co-production by Sightlines Theatre and The Point in the Bronx.
COME DOWN BURNING
In the Appalachians, a disabled woman who moves around on a cart and her emotionally paralyzed sister struggle against poverty, prejudice, and unwanted pregnancy. Workshopped through the Long Wharf Theatre. World premiere at American Place Theatre.
A COOL DIP IN THE BARREN SAHARAN CRICK
Abebe, a young Ethiopian man whose village was submerged with the building of a dam, has come to live with an African-American family in a small Maryland town. He befriends a small white boy struck mute by witnessing violence in his own home, and gradually comes to see how his host family still live with their own death-by-water ghosts. Commissioned by and world premiere at Playwrights Horizons as a co-production with The Play Company and the Culture Project. Masterwork Production Award.
Ness, a twelve-year-old orphan girl in a rural town, navigates the changes in her life: local tensions regarding the possibility of a strike at the factory that employs her older brother and family breadwinner; the love developing between that brother and a co-worker—a family friend and married man; and her own helplessness as a girl growing into womanhood while her sole female family member, her grandmother, daily slips further away from lucidity, and from Ness. World premiere at Hartford Stage Company.
An African-American police officer struggles with the contradictions of his race and profession while confronting the black community he is bound to protect and being haunted by his cop father’s violent death. Commissioned by and world premiere at Atlantic Theater Company.
LIFE BY ASPHYXIATION
After thirty years on death row, Jojo has company: Nat Turner in the next-door cell on one side, Crazy Horse in the next-door cell on the other. His execution date is approaching, and he bides these days chatting with his best-friend prison guard and with the ghost of his ever-present victim. World premiere in one-act form at Playwrights Horizons. One-act read at Joe’s Pub as part of the Public Theater’s Public Forum. Full-length version developed at Crossroads Theatre Company’s Genesis Festival.
LIGHT RAISE THE ROOF
Cole, a homeless man and self-taught architect and builder, is commissioned by other homeless to design and construct houses for them out of scraps around New York City. He struggles with all the obstacles challenging the most economically disadvantaged community. The set is a key character. World premiere at New York Theatre Workshop.
Nineteen-year-old Tray loves his grandfather and loves caring for his infant daughter, hoping one day to marry the baby’s mother. But in the War on Drugs, a joint at a party becomes a major military provocation, and Tray unwittingly falls into a black hole of bewilderment, rearranging his plans and his life. Workshopped through New Works Brooklyn at Brooklyn College and New York Theatre Workshop.
MOOT THE MESSENGER
A young journalist and her soldier brother separately wind up in Iraq. Their Vietnam grandfather compares notes with the younger generation, and Abu Ghraib hits very close to home. Commissioned by and world premiere at Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival.
POOR LA PATRIE
A librarian and her agoraphobic father, a former Panther and victim of COINTELPRO government surveillance, suffer too much of a déjà vu when they and those closest to them are targeted during the early days of the PATRIOT Act. Commissioned under the auspices of a McKnight National Residency administered through the Playwrights Center. Workshopped at the Playwrights Center, the Goodman Theatre’s New Stages Series, Two River Theatre Company, and the Working Theatre.
Beedee has worked at her small-town big department store for eighteen years and loves it, or thinks she does. But the utopia slowly begins to disintegrate, and even visitations from Sam Walton cannot prevent the crash. Commissioned by Playwrights Horizons, workshopped by the Goodman Theatre’s New Stages Series and Labyrinth Theater Company.
SEEKING THE GENESIS
A young urban mother overwhelmed by her first-grade son’s hyperactivity and by her struggle to keep from losing her teenage son to the streets is pressured, in both cases, to address the situation pharmaceutically. Commissioned by and world premiere at the Goodman Theatre. Subsequent production at Manhattan Theatre Club.
Malik suffers a terrible accident, the result of a negligent manufacturing defect. In a nation where lawsuits have been equated with greed, how can Malik’s father Gid attain compensation, and justice? Workshopped by Victory Gardens Theatre.
SLIDE GLIDE THE SLIPPERY SLOPE
Now in their mid-thirties, a farm twin and a city twin come to meet for the first time since infanthood. How is family defined? What is the “perfect” child? The talking sheep explains all. Commissioned through the Mark Taper Forum’s Fadiman Award. World premiered at Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival with a subsequent production at the Taper.
Two twelve-year-old girls, an African American and a Somali immigrant, are suddenly living together and fighting—sometimes with fists—through tween competiveness and personal loss. Commissioned by and world premiere at Minneapolis’ Children’s Theatre Company.
SPLASH HATCH ON THE E GOING DOWN
Thyme, a fifteen-year-old Harlem girl, is an excellent student who is hyper-aware of environmental issues and of the placement of the racial-economically disadvantaged in hazardous areas. She is also married and pregnant. Her 18-year-old husband Erry is awkward and sincere, and gradually ill. A journey punctuated by a dirt-eating pregnant friend, a knockdown dragout between hugely pregnant girls, and a water birth. World premiere at New York Stage and Film. Subsequently: co-production by Baltimore’s Center Stage and Yale Repertory Company; production at London’s Donmar Warehouse.
TAP THE LEOPARD
A three-act epic stage representation of the historical African-American colonization of Liberia, from slavery in the U.S. through immigration and appropriation to 21st Century civil war and life in Africa on an American-created modern plantation. Inspired by the playwright’s two-week visit to Liberia as the country was beginning its transition out of civil war. The trip and a related commissioned play were administered by the Guthrie Theater, under the auspices of the Bush Foundation. Workshops at the Guthrie, subsequent workshop at New York Theatre Workshop.
During the 2008 financial crisis, five women of various ethnicities and economic classes gradually discover that the trickle-down theory is most applicable to poverty. Commissioned by University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Professional premiere in Ensemble Studio Theatre’s One-Act Marathon.
THE VENUS DE MILO IS ARMED
In a Southern city, an upper middle class African American family is jolted by the sudden appearance of landmines all over the country. A nod to absurdism, with family members periodically losing a limb. Commissioned by and world premiere at Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
WAKE UP LOU RISER
Four sisters, aged twelve to twenty-four in the 1990s learn firsthand just how alive and well arbitrary racial violence still is when their teenage brother is lynched. The young women choose eye-for-an-eye revenge: dressing in black Klan robes and preparing to lynch a Klan member they presume to be responsible. World premiere at Delaware Theatre Company as the winner of its Connections Contest.
SELECTED PLAYS IN PRINT
A COOL DIP IN THE BARREN SAHARAN CRICK AND OTHER PLAYS includes A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick, Light Raise the Roof, and Tap the Leopard as well as an extended travel memoir about the author’s two weeks in Liberia in the early part of the country’s transition from civil war to peace.
Dramatists Play Service acting editions of
Come Down Burning
Seeking the Genesis
Splash Hatch on the E Going Down
Samuel French acting edition of
A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick
Other plays included in numerous anthologies.