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The Syringa Tree

The Syringa Tree
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Pamela Gien
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 92
Pub. Date: 2002
ISBN-10: 0822217929
ISBN-13: 9780822217923
Cast Size: 1 woman (or flexible casting)

About the Play:

Winner of the 2001 Obie Award for Best Play

The Syringa Tree is a full length drama by Pamela Gien. The celebrated multi-generational play about two families in apartheid South Africa – one black, one white – separated by racism, connected by love.

The Syringa Tree is a personal, deeply evocative story of an abiding love between two families, one black, one white, and the two children that are born into their shared household in early 1960s South Africa. Seen first through the eyes of a child, six-year-old Elizabeth Grace, who doesn't yet understand the tensions and conflicts in the household shared with her parents, her brother and the beloved black nanny and her child. She tries with humour and palpable fear to make sense of the chaos, magic and darkness of Africa. The story of these families' destinies spans four generations, from early apartheid to the present-day free South Africa.

The Syringa Tree began as an acting exercise of Pamela Gien's in the Los Angeles acting studio run by Larry Moss, the well-known acting coach. It premiered in 1999 at A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) in Seattle, and opened in New York at Playhouse 91 in 2000, winning the Obie Award for Best Play and a nomination for the John Gassner Playwriting Award. As originally written and often performed by Pamela Gien, and directed by Larry Moss, one actress plays all twenty-four characters. The play may also be performed by a company of actors, playing several roles or not as desired. It has been produced by countless regional theatres throughout the United States and Canada.

Cast: 1 woman (or flexible casting)

What people say:

"Instantly engaging, exotic, complex, deeply shocking…a thoroughly persuasive transport to a time and a place…stun[s] with the power of a gut punch…." — The New York Times

"A tour-de-force solo drama…emotionally powerful without being overtly political; audiences regularly emerge from the theater crying." — The New Yorker

"…The Syringa Tree is a powerful play." — Wall Street Journal

"Astonishing…affecting…[with] a dramatic and heartbreaking conclusion…A deceptive sweet simplicity haunts The Syringa Tree." — Associated Press

"The work is a virtuoso piece…." — New Y ork Daily News

About the Playwright:

Pamela Gien was born and raised in South Africa. She is the recipient of the Obie Award for Best Play 2001. She currently lives in the United States.