Les Blancs (The Whites)

by  Lorraine Hansberry, Robert Nemiroff

Full Length Play, Drama  /  8m, 3f, 5m or f, 1boy(s) or girl(s)

"Incredibly moving ...towering, magnificent." - The New York Times

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    8m, 3f, 5m or f, 1boy(s) or girl(s)
  • Duration

    Duration

    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Best American play of 1970, Les Blancs prophetically confronts the hope and tragedy of Africa in revolution. The setting is a white Christian mission in a colony about to explode. The time is that hour of reckoning when no one the guilty nor the innocent can evade the consequences of white colonialism and imperatives of black liberation. Tshembe Matoseh, the English educated son of a chief, has come home to bury his father. He finds his teenage brother a near alcoholic and his older brother a priest and traitor to his people. Forswearing politics and wanting only to return to his wife and child in England, Tshembe is drawn into the conflict symbolized by a woman dancer, the powerful Spirit of Africa who pursues him.
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Reviews

REVIEWS

"Incredibly moving ...towering, magnificent." - The New York Times

"Possessed of the unrelenting power, breadth of vision and masterly technique that only a very few playwrights are capable of in any one generation." - Detroit News

" A searing portrait of the revolutionary spirit." - The Evening Standard, Read More 

"Les Blancs still has the power to shock...a blistering triumph." - Radio Times, Read More 

RELATED ARTICLES ON BREAKING CHARACTER 

The Classical Fungus of Les Blancs: In Conversation with Drew Lichtenberg, Dramaturg on the National Theatre's Production of Les Blancs 
by Garrett Anderson
September 9, 2016

Videos

  • Les Blancs National Theatre Trailer
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Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage

Cautions

  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $100 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Contemporary
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: In and about a Mission compound in Africa and the hut of a tribal elder. The time is yesterday, today, and tomorrow-- but not very long after that.
  • Additional Features: Stage Combat

Casting

8m, 3f, 5m or f, 1boy(s) or girl(s)

DR. MARTA GOTTERLING
PETER
CHARLIE MORRIS
DR. WILLY DEKOVEN
MAJOR GEORGE RICE
MADAME NIELSEN
ERIC
TSHEMBE MATOSEH
ABIOSEH MATOSEH
NGAGO
THE WOMAN
DRUMMERS
AFRICAN VILLAGERS (AND WARRIORS)
AFRICAN CHILD
SOLDIERS
PRISONER

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Cast Attributes

  • Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
  • Multicultural casting
  • Room for Extras

Casting Notes

Casting includes 5 black males and 3 white males, 2 white females and 1 black female, 6 extras including 1 child

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Authors

Lorraine Hansberry

When Lorraine Hansberry’s (1930-1965) A Raisin in the Sun appeared on Broadway in 1959, the artist became at twenty-nine the youngest American playwright, the fifth woman, and the only African American to date to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play of the Year. The play represented a landmark. In ...

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Robert Nemiroff

Robert Nemiroff

Les Blancs was first presented at the Longacre Theatre in New York City on November 15, 1970. Directed by John Berry.

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