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


    40 minutes
  • SubGenre


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



"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


Performing Groups

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


  • Caution Intense Adult Intense Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance



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


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


3m, 5f

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

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Cast Attributes

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


Available Services



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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