Funnyhouse of a Negro

by  Adrienne Kennedy

Short Play, Drama  /  3m, 5f

Funnyhouse of a Negro primarily deals with the theme of racial identity, touching on elements of mixed ancestry, as seen through the four manifestations of Sarah's self.

Winner - 1964 Obie Award, Distinguished Play
Winner - 2008 Obie Award, Lifetime Achievement


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Funnyhouse of a Negro

by  Adrienne Kennedy

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 5f
  • Duration

    Duration

    40 minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Experimental
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Obie, From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Funnyhouse of a Negro is a modern classic about the student Sarah, a young black woman living in New York City, and her search for her identity in a very complex, warring, and fractured world. This search is manifested in her many selves: Queen Victoria, the Duchess of Hapsburg, Patrice Lumumba, and Jesus Christ. Performed by colleges worldwide, this landmark play speaks to students trying to find a place in the world.
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Accolades

  • Winner! 1964 Obie Award, Distinguished Play
    Winner! 2008 Obie Award, Lifetime Achievement

Reviews

REVIEWS

"Funnyhouse of a Negro, Adrienne Kennedy's 1964 one-act play set, essentially, inside the head of a disturbed young black woman named Sarah, catches perfectly that moment in time when the struggle could have gone either way: black identity might have been erased, or it might have reasserted itself." - The New York Times, Read More

"I bet you won’t see anything so fearlessly weird and original all year. I don’t know if Beyoncé is familiar with Kennedy’s work, but Funnyhouse plays like a hard-core retort to the self-empowerment poetics of Lemonade. That Funnyhouse came half a century earlier hardly even matters." - TimeOut New York, Read More 

"It was so thrilling for me to experience the lyrical dialogue of Adrienne Kennedy, whom I’d known only through reading." - Ben Brantley, The New York Times

Keywords

Black issues, Memory

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Intense Adult Intense Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $45 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Not Applicable
  • Duration: 40 minutes
  • Setting: Sarah's room.
  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Elaborate / High Volume Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

3m, 5f

NEGRO-SARAH
DUCHESS OF HAPSBURG - one of her selves
QUEEN VICTORIA REGINA - one of her selves
JESUS - one of her selves
PATRICE LUMUMBA - one of her selves
SARAH'S LANDLADY - Funnyhouse lady
RAYMOND - Funnyhouse man
THE MOTHER

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Cast Attributes

  • Multicultural casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

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Authors

Adrienne Kennedy

Adrienne Kennedy continues to influence the world through her art. She was the recipient of the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, an Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement Award, the Lila Wallace—Reader's Digest Writers' Award and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in Literature Aw ...

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Funnyhouse of a Negro was first presented Off Broadway at the East End Theater in New York City on January 14, 1964.

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