The Owl Answers

by  Adrienne Kennedy

Short Play, Drama  /  7m, 3f

An African-American girl dreams of establishing a heritage and imagines she is applying to bury her father in Westminster Cathedral.

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The Owl Answers

by  Adrienne Kennedy

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    7m, 3f
  • Duration


    40 minutes
  • SubGenre


  • Accolades


  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

An African-american girl dreams of establishing a heritage and imagines she is applying to bury her father in Westminster Cathedral. The chorus enters. Ann Boleyn, Shakespeare, and William the Conqueror scorn her: whoever heard of a black with such a heritage? Her father was white, she protests, and her mother was his family's cook. As a child she had to enter through the back door when she wanted to visit him. A companion piece to Kennedy's revolutionary Funnyhouse of a Negro.
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Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional 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: A New York subway is the Tower of London is a Harlem hotel room is St. Peter's
  • 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)


7m, 3f
SHE - who is Clara Passmore, who is the Virgin Mary, who is the Bastard, who is the Owl
BASTARD'S BLACK MOTHER - who is the Reverend's Wife, who is Anne Boleyn
GODDAM FATHER - who is the Richest White Man In The Town, who is the Dead White Father, who is Reverend Passmore
THE WHITE BIRD - who is Reverend Passmore's Canary, who is God's Dove
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Cast Attributes

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

Casting Notes

The characters change slowly back and forth into and out of themselves, leaving some garment from their previous selves upon them always to remind us of the nature of She who is Clara Passmore who is the Virgin Mary who is the Bastard who is the Owl's world.




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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The Owl Answers was first presented by Lucille Lortel at The White Barn Theatre in Westport, Connecticut, in 1965. It was directed by Michael Kahn.

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