by David Adjmi
Full Length Play, Drama / 2m, 4f
An eye-opening, intimate look into the world of sixteen-year-old Lily, who lives in a Syrian-Jewish community in Brooklyn with her much older husband - and what occurs when an unlikely relationship with her African-American maid begins to form.
- David Adjmi is the 2010 recipient of the Whiting Award for Drama
"Nobody is what they appear to be in Stunning, THE RAZOR-SHARP SATIRICAL TRAGEDY by David Adjmi. [The producers at LTC3] have succeeded: Stunning frequently lives up to its name, offering a brutal yet witty view of groupthink and slippery identity politics among Syrian Jews in Brooklyn...the hippest ticket in town"
"Unless you happen to live in an insular Syrian-Jewish community, the culture shock of Stunning could be quite...well, stunning. David Adjmi's eye-opening drama about a despotic rag merchant, his tyrannized child bride and the black maid who challenges the medieval customs of their domestic life has a chilling impact. Riveting performances and super-stylish staging polish the play's satirical weapons of high dudgeon, while adding to the luster of LCT3, the developmental wing of Lincoln Center currently making a splash in its inaugural season at the Duke."
"David Adjmi's off-Broadway debut is a striking, and yes, stunning black satire of the insular Syrian-Jewish community in Midwood, Brooklyn."
"The advantage of writing about something you know pays off handsomely for multi-award-winning playwright David Adjmi...Careening courageously, but never recklessly, between satire and melodrama —and ultimately tragedy— Stunning is an eye-opening, intimately focused look into the marriage of a couple within a sect that guards its insularity and its ingrained religious/cultural identity...astonishingly provocative"
- Curtain Up
"A deft touch for both comedy and drama...Richly defined characters tackle sensitive topics insightfully and often to incendiary effect. David Adjmi is quickly building a reputation for unvarnished presentations of offbeat and disturbing themes." - Variety
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KeywordsBetrayal, Feminism, Marriage, Religion, Black/African-American Interest, Jewish Interest, LGBTQ+ Interest
- Gun Shots
- Intense Adult Themes
- Minimum Fee: $100 per performance
- Time Period: Contemporary
- Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
- Setting: The play takes place largely within the confines of the midwood section of Brooklyn – a very affl uent, largely Jewish area; one which exerts a centripetal force on the people who live there. Despite the proximity to Manhattan, there’s a provincialism to it, an insularity, but also an extremely tight-knit sense of community.
- Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes
- Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
- Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
- Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)
BLANCHE NESBITT – (forties) Lily’s new housekeeper, African American, an extremely intelligent, voluble, and terribly sensitive autodidact. Damaged, but maintains a great sense of irony and dry humor. She adapts to survive - she’s performative, and the performance wears her down eventually. An outsider.
IKEY SCHWECKY – (forty-five) Lily’s new husband: controlling, brute, bumptious, but there’s something fragile in him, broken – he’s more transparent than he thinks.
SHELLY – (early-twenties) Lily’s big sister; a leader; she’s got a stentorian quality, but naturalizes this by cultivating “girly” preoccupations. The laziness of her "r’s and a’s" feels calculated and somehow hostile.
JOJO – (thirties, early forties) Shelly’s uxorious husband; basically a good guy but limited; rather put upon, has trouble sticking to his guns.
CLAUDINE - (nineteen) a bit hysterical; unselfconscious – even brute – in her bids for approval. She has a desperate conformity.
- Roles for Teens
- Multicultural casting
Stunning was originally produced in March 2008 by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Washington DC.