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Amen Corner, The - Full Length Play, Drama

Amen Corner, The

James Baldwin

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Full Length Play, Drama

5m, 9f

ISBN: 9780573619755

After giving a fiery Sunday morning sermon, Margaret is confronted by the unexpected arrival of her long estranged husband, Luke, who collapses from illness shortly thereafter. Their son, David, along with several elders of the congregation, learn from Luke that, while Margaret had led everyone to believe that he had abandoned her with their son years ago, it was in fact Margaret who had left a dysfunctional Luke and pursued a religious life. This information precipitates confrontations between Margaret and her son, her congregation, and her estranged husband, regarding what they perceive as the hypocritical nature of her religious convictions, and the breakup of her family...

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Rental Materials | Author | Reviews
$8.95
: Acting Edition
$17.95
: Large Print
$19.95
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Description

Full Length Play

Drama

Faith-based

Time Period - Contemporary

Settings Of Play - The church and home of Margaret Alexander in Harlem.

FEATURES / CONTAINS

Cutting Approved for Competition, UIL Approved, Competition or audition material

Interior Set

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

TARGET AUDIENCE

Adult

PERFORMANCE GROUP

High School/Secondary, College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre

After giving a fiery Sunday morning sermon, Margaret is confronted by the unexpected arrival of her long estranged husband, Luke, who collapses from illness shortly thereafter. Their son, David, along with several elders of the congregation, learn from Luke that, while Margaret had led everyone to believe that he had abandoned her with their son years ago, it was in fact Margaret who had left a dysfunctional Luke and pursued a religious life. This information precipitates confrontations between Margaret and her son, her congregation, and her estranged husband, regarding what they perceive as the hypocritical nature of her religious convictions, and the breakup of her family. After an important conversation with his dying father, David informs Margaret that he is leaving home to pursue his calling as a jazz musician. On his deathbed, Luke declares to Margaret that he has always loved her, and that she should not have left him. Finally, Margaret’s congregation decides to oust her, based on their perception that she unjustly ruined her own family in the name of religion. Only after losing her son, her husband, and her congregation, does Margaret finally realize that she should not have used religion as an excuse to escape the struggles of life and love, but that ‘‘To love the Lord is to love all His children—all of them, everyone!—and suffer with them and rejoice with them and never count the cost!’’
"The characters are honestly observed, and the lines have wings and humor."- The New York Daily News

"Truth, vividness and rich humanity."- The New York Post

Characters

CASTING

5m, 9f

CASTING ATTRIBUTES

Role(s) for Black Actor(s), Multicultural casting

CHORUS SIZE

N/A (Not a musical)

MARGARET ALEXANDER - Pastor of the church
ODESSA - Margaret's older sister
IDA JACKSON - a young woman
SISTER MOORE - elder of the church
SISTER BOXER - elder of the church
BROTHER BOXER - elder of the church
DAVID - Margartet's 18 year-old son
LUKE - her husband
SISTER SALLY - member of the congregation
SISTER DOUGLAS - member of the congregation
SISTER RICE - member of the congregation
BROTHER DAVIS - member of the congregation
BROTHER WASHINGTON - member of the congregation
WOMAN
OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CONGREGATION

Rental Materials

MUSICAL STYLE

N/A (Not a musical)

VOCAL DEMANDS

N/A (Not a musical)

Author
James Baldwin

James Baldwin

James Arthur Baldwin was born in Harlem, New York City, Aug. 2, 1924 and died on Nov. 30, 1987. He offered a vital literary voice during the era of civil rights activism in the 1950s and '60s. The eldest of nine children, his stepfather was a minister. At age 14 , Baldwin became a preacher at the small Fireside Pentecostal Church in Harlem. After he graduated from high school, he moved to ... view full profile

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Reviews
Toney Cobb 1/3/2015 10:04 AM
Jessica Palmarozza 9/5/2013 4:45 AM
Vocal, arresting and moving, this play by James Baldwin, written in 1955, cries out to audiences then and now to recognize the plight of the African-American in Harlem. This voice, built from the phrases and cadences of Gospel faith, is subtly crafted despite being explicitly polemical. Sister Margaret is the local pastor, much admired by her congregation for the strength of her personality and her faith. Despite being abandoned by her drunken, blues playing husband, Margaret keeps the community on the straight and narrow as well as raising David, their son. However, this admiration is disrupted when Luke bursts back into the scene, just as David has begun to feel claustrophobic. Sister Margaret must confront the ruptures in her parish and in her family. Faith, and Margaret's self righteous certainty is shown to be denial at its most complex and entrenched.

'The Amen Corner' is a play which forces the audience to consider the private tragedies of poverty and subjugation, and is the corner stone of Baldwin's reputation as a Civil Rights forerunner. Although there are moments of clumsiness, perhaps in the detail of Luke and Margaret's relationship, the play is a success. The ensemble of supporting characters provide moments of light relief, particularly the hilariously hypocritical Sister Moore.

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