The place is Chicago's south side and the time the 1950s, just before the civil rights movement began to burgeon. Alberta, unmarried and in her thirties, shares an apartment with her mother, Weedy, an old-fashioned black woman who finds solace for her troubles in religion. Their constant visitor is Uncle Do, a sporty, down-on-his-luck gambling man who is the despair of his strait-laced sister, Weedy. Then, unexpectedly, a wandering street singer, Blind Jordan, comes to their door, searching for a woman he once knew. The others are puzzled and even frightened by their visitor, but Alberta offers to help him in his quest, and when they are alone, all the emotional and sexual frustration struggling within her bursts forth in a scene of tremendous eloquence and power. Out of the unsettling nature of their encounter comes estrangement between mother and daughter, which subsides to an uneasy truce when Blind Jordan departs—leaving behind a disturbing awareness of much that has been lost or changed, and of much greater change still to come.
Honored by Time magazine as one of the year's ten best plays and winner of the Drama Desk and Hull-Warriner Awards, this vivid and deeply affecting drama combines humor and power in capturing the sense of black consciousness in America during a time of transition from old to new. "It is eloquent, powerful, moving and beautiful…a consecrated act of theater." —Time Magazine. "Dean has written a powerful play, deeply felt and profoundly moving." —Women's Wear Daily. "He has a gift of writing dialogue that has humor, veracity and power." —NY Newsday.