Black Thunder: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Drama



Black Thunder: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Drama

This edition

"Black Thunder: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Drama" . Ed. William B. Branch. New York: Mentor, 1992. xxxv+520 pp.

Table of contents

The Colored Museum / by George C. Wolfe -- The first breeze of summer / by Leslie Lee -- Eden / by Steve Carter -- General Hag's skeezag / by Amiri Baraka -- Long time since yesterday / by P.J. Gibson -- Baccalaureate / by William Branch -- Sherlock Holmes and the hands of Othello / by Alexander Simmons -- The taking of Miss Janie / by Ed Bullins -- Ma Rainey's black bottom / by August Wilson.

Reviews and notices of anthology

• "Publisher's Weekly" 3 Feb. 1992. Web .
"Given the ferment in black theater since 1975, the period covered by this nine-play anthology, the offerings here are disappointing. The opening and closing plays, George C. Wolfe's "The Colored Museum" and August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom", are by far the best works included, the former a coruscating attack on the clichés of black popular culture, the latter a taut examination of the dynamics of a group of black musicians in the late 1920s. What comes in between alternates between family melodramas derivative of O'Neill and Lorraine Hansberry (Steve Carter's "Eden" Leslie Lee's "The First Breeze of Summer") and failed avant-gardism redolent of the Off-Broadway of the early 1960s ("General Hag's Skeezag" by Amiri Baraka and "The Taking of Miss Janie" by Ed Bullins). At their worst, several of the plays here offer casual anti-Semitism (the Baraka and, in a more guarded context, the Bullins) or vicious homophobia (P. J. Gibson's messy "Long Time Since Yesterday"). Playwright Branch's introduction begins promisingly, with an account of the first African American theater ventures, but quickly degenerates into a catalogue of titles and dates." (full text)

Commentary on anthology

• A collection "valuable for its historical introduction and its headnotes as well as its selection of nine plays produced from 1975 to 1980. Baraka, Bullins, and Wilson are here, of course, as well as George C. Wolfe, Leslie Lee, Steve Carter, P. J. Gibson, Branch himself, and Alexander Simmons" (Kinnamon 1997: 476).

Cited in

Kinnamon 1997: 476]

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