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Topdog/Underdog

Topdog/Underdog
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Suzan-Lori Parks
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 128
Pub. Date: 2004
ISBN-10: 1854597647
ISBN-13: 9781854597649
Cast Size: 3 women, 4 men

About the Play:

Winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Topdog/Underdog is a full-length drama by Suzan-Lori Parks. Two African-American brothers, who have the burdensome names of Lincoln and Booth, play a game of three-card monte that leads to a reenactment of the deadly meeting of their namesakes in Suzan-Lori Parks' perfectly shaped distillation of epic themes: race, history and the con games of American identity.

Topdog/Underdog tells the story of Lincoln and Booth, two down-on-their-luck African-American brothers and roommates, who were named after American President Abraham Lincoln and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth, by a mischievous (and now missing) father, foretelling a lifetime of sibling rivalry and resentment. Lincoln, the elder, is trying to make a go at honest work after years of hustling three-card monte; and Booth, the younger, is a wannabe looking to learn the tricks of his brother's illegitimate trade. Trapped by their poverty, family history and ominously prophetic given names, these two black men find themselves locked in a dangerous game of deception, sparring over just which one's the Player and which one's the Played. When there isn't room for both to succeed, who will come out on top? A darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity is Suzan-Lori Parks' 2001 Pulitzer Prize winning play on the way we are defined by history.

Topdog/Underdog premiered in 2001 Off-Broadway at the Joseph Papp Theater followed by an extended run on Broadway at the Ambassador Theatre. The play was a hit and Suzan-Lori Parks became the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional repertory, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 3 women, 4 men

What people say:

"…an utterly mesmerizing evening of theater…the vitality, freshness and gritty lyricism of Parks' writing are unlike anything to be heard on a Broadway Stage…." — Variety

"…[a] vibrant comic drama of shifting identity and betrayal…from the ferociously talented author of In the Blood and The America Play…." — The New York Times

"The issues are gripping, the characters are dynamite…a must-see play." — BackStage

About the Playwright:

Suzan-Lori Parks is an African-American playwright and screenwriter. She was the recipient of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Topdog/Underdog, becoming the first African-American woman to receive the prestigious award. Her first feature film, Girl 6, was directed by Spike Lee. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, where she studied with James Baldwin, she has taught creative writing in universities across the US, including at the Yale School of Drama, and she heads the Dramatic Writing Program at CalArts.

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