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Ceremonies in Dark Old Men

Ceremonies in Dark Old Men
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Lonne Elder III
Publisher: Samuel French (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 93
Pub. Date: 1993
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0573606889
ISBN-13: 9780573606885
Cast Size: 2 female, 5 male

About the Play:

Finalist for the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Ceremonies in Dark Old Men is a full-length drama by Lonne Elder III. This classic play by Academy Award nominee Lonne Elder III gives us the portrait of a Harlem family that dreams of a better life, but pursues it in tragic ways. First produced by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1969, the critically acclaimed Ceremonies in Dark Old Men opened the door for a new generation of African American playwrights, including August Wilson and Lynn Nottage.

Ceremonies in Dark Old Men shows us a family who aspire to better things but who go about in it in the wrong and tragic way. Mr. Parker has a barber shop but spends almost no time cutting hair or making money. Instead, he passes his time playing checkers with his old friend Mr. Jenkins and reminiscing about his days as a vaudeville performer with his unemployed sons, Theo and Bobby. The sons try to make a fast buck with home brew. It is the daughter who works and supports them all. Other characters of the family's Harlem neighbourhood complete this portrait of one urban community at a pivotal time for the politics of race, business, and real estate. This powerful 1960s drama by Lonne Elder III is often compared to A Raisin in the Sun for its then-contemporary examination of the disintegration of a Black family in the midst of the great social revolution in America.

Ceremonies in Dark Old Men was presented as a dramatic reading in 1965 at Wagner College on New York’s Staten Island. The reading of the play propelled the author to a fellowship in screenwriting at the Yale University School of Drama in 1966 and 1967 and won him several other financial awards. It was first produced for the stage by the Negro Ensemble Company during its premiere season at the St. Marks Playhouse in 1969. Later it moved into an extended off-Broadway run at the Pocket Theatre, where it enjoyed instantaneous success. The play won Lonne Elder a Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Playwright and was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Its success led him to move from New York to Los Angeles, where he embarked on his Hollywood writing career. Considered an American theater classic, the play has enjoyed many revivals.

Cast: 2 female, 5 male

What people say:

"A drama of power and importance. The best play of the season." — New York Post

"Reminded me irresistibly of O'Casey. Its mood, poised between comedy and tragedy, is identical, intensity of feeling and love of language are similar, and there is a common cause in its undercurrents of rebellion. A remarkable play." — New York Times

"Exciting drama, filled with meaningful insight and original comedy." — NBC TV

About the Playwright:

Lonne Elder III (1927-1996) was an American actor, playwright and screenwriter. He was one of the leading African American figures who informed the New York theater world with social and political consciousness. He also wrote scripts for television and film. His most well known play, Ceremonies in Dark Old Men won him a Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Playwright and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. In 1973, Elder and Suzanne de Passe became the first African Americans to be nominated for the Academy Award in writing for the movie Sounder, starring Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, and Kevin Hooks and directed by Martin Ritt.