by  Eisa Davis

Full Length Play, Drama  /  3m, 3f

Finalist! 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Drama
"[Davis] tickles the ears of her listeners...moving scenes on the banks of the pebble-strewn river...feel utterly true." - The New York Times

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 3f
  • Duration


    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre


  • Accolades


  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Monologues
    • Scene work
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

In 1955, in the redwood country north of San Francisco, a multiracial girl grows up in a predominantly white town whose residents pepper their speech with the historical dialect of Boontling. Found floating in a basket on the river as an infant, Bulrusher is an orphan with a gift for clairvoyance that makes her feel like a stranger even amongst the strange: the taciturn schoolteacher who adopted her, the madam who runs her brothel with a fierce discipline, the logger with a zest for horses and women, and the guitar-slinging boy who is after Bulrusher's heart. Just when she thought her world might close in on her, she discovers an entirely new sense of self when a black girl from Alabama comes to town. Passionate, lyrical, and chock full of down-home humor, this play is an unforgettable experience by a new, thrilling voice.
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  • Finalist! 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Drama



"[Davis] tickles the ears of her listeners...moving scenes on the banks of the pebble-strewn river...feel utterly true." - The New York Times

"Davis explores her themes in unexpected and evocative ways...The still waters of Bulrusher turn out to run pretty deep." - The San Francisco Chronicle

"An engrossing rush...Eisa Davis' gleaming marriage of poetry and myth... has a big heart and a wide-open soul." – Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune

"Mixing together issues of family, heritage, race and love, Eisa Davis' Bulrusher delivers a powerful impact with a poetic, deeply realized script and story. In the hands of director Marion McClinton...the work becomes transcendent." - TalkingBroadway.org

"Bulrusher brims with profound lyrical passion...a poetic play with much nuance..." - NYTheatre.com

"Davis has powers as a writer to find beauty in almost everything, and her play pulses with compassion and life. Bulrusher has the kind of satisfying, uplifting ending you can only find in live theater — vibrant, poetic, immediate and thrilling." - Bay Area News Group


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage


  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $100 per performance



  • Time Period: 1950s
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Boonville, California, a small town in Mendocino Valley, north of San Francisco, 1955.
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


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


3m, 3f
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Roles for Teens
  • Multicultural casting



Eisa Davis

Eisa Davis was the 2012 Alpert Award winner in Theatre and a 2013 Obie Award winner for Sustained Excellence in Performance. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her play Bulrusher, and wrote and starred in Angela’s Mixtape, named a best of 2009 by The New Yorker. Other play ...

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Bulrusher received its world premiere in 2006 at Urban Stages/Playwrights’ Preview Productions in New York

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