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And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson

And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Jim Leonard, Jr.
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 91
Pub. Date: 1986
ISBN-10: 0822200457
ISBN-13: 9780822200451
Cast Size: 4 women, 3 men

About the Play:

Winner of the American College Festival Award

And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson is a full-length drama by Jim Leonard, Jr. A powerful, haunting memory play offering a vivid and deeply affecting account of the agonies inflicted on a young girl growing up in a small – and small-minded – Indiana town. Especially recommended for school and contest use.

And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson is about the search for understanding and compassion in a world where prejudice and cruelty often prevail. Elizabeth Ann Willow lives with her father and mother in Jackson, a small town in rural Indiana. Crippled at birth with polio, Elizabeth Ann is confined to a wheelchair and must wear leg braces, which cuts her off from the other children and prevents her regular attendance at school. Although she tries to reach out and make friends, Elizabeth Ann is increasingly isolated from and then taunted by the others, whose small-town prejudices are reinforced by a polio scare, of which Elizabeth Ann is a chilling embodiment. Comprised of a brilliantly conceived mosaic of interlocking scenes which move back and forth in time, with four performers portraying a varied assortment of children and townspeople, the play captures not only the moving story of Elizabeth Ann's inexorable descent into madness, but also the small-mindedness and unfeeling callousness of her fellow townspeople – whose fear of the unknown or abnormal makes them the unintentional agents of her destruction. Culminating in a chilling scene in which Elizabeth Ann's leg braces are torn from her by a frenzied mob, the play becomes in the final essence a moving and poetically evocative plea for understanding and compassion in a world where prejudice and casual cruelty are too often the norm.

And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson was first developed and performed by the Hanover College Theatre Group. The play was chosen as a finalist for the American College Theatre Festival and opened at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1979. It received its first professional production in 1983 by the New Playwrights’ Theatre in Washington, DC. It was subsequently performed by the Circle Repertory Company in 1984, and opened Off-Broadway in 1985 at the Hudson Guild Theatre. The play enjoyed widespread acceptance among leading regional theatres, and has become a popular choice for school and community theatre productions.

Cast: 4 women, 3 men

What people say:

"…taut and startling stagecraft…." — Washington Post

"…a showcase for exceptional acting, clever and effective staging, and forceful dialogue." — Washington Tribune

"Leonard has an exceptional ear for dialogue, both prosaic and poetic." — Washington Times

About the Playwright:

Jim Leonard is an American playwright, television writer and producer. He started his career in theatre: He attended Hanover College in Indiana where he wrote his first two plays And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson and The Diviners (which has become a go-to script for community theatre companies). After graduation, he co-founded the still-flourishing Bloomington Playwrights Project. He spent 20 years at New York's prestigious Circle Repertory Company (where he premiered almost all of his plays) until he began his successful career in film and television. He now splits his time between Indiana and Los Angeles.

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