the woman/ the man
a funny house of a negro
by adrienne kennedy
the death of the last black man in the whole entire
aka the negro book of the dead
by suzan-lori parks
directed by Jeffrey page
scenic design: ramaj jamar
costume design: sabrina bianca guillaume
lighting design: eric norbury
sound design: kimberly s. o'loughlin
hair & makeup: marilyn "cookie" jordan
photography: rob strong
lenfest center of the arts
The Woman / The Man is a theatrical double feature comprised of two Obie-winning plays: Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro and Suzan-Lori Parks’ The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead.
Sarah, a young woman living in New York, struggles with her racial identity in Funnyhouse of a Negro. A child born at the intersection of Black and White, Sarah encounters images of her heritage through manifestations of historical figures from Jesus Christ to Queen Victoria to Patrice Lumumba in Kennedy’s dreamlike portrait of what it means to be a Woman of Color in America.
In The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead, Black Man is trapped in a perpetual state of execution. Set in “the great hole” in American History, the legacies and lives of forgotten and omitted African American men and women remain unheard and unseen. Echoes of Black American culture and stereotypes are personified in Parks’ surreal narrative of the historical repetition of racial inequality.
Written nearly 30 years apart, the two pieces in The Woman / The Man remain as haunting and as relevant as the day each was written.
MFA student’s directing thesis, “The Woman / The Man,” commands writers to preserve truths of history