Plays from the New York Shakespeare Festival

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Broadway Play Pub., Sep 1, 1986 - Drama - 400 pages
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About the author (1986)

Born in Dubuque, Iowa, Rabe was educated at Loras College and Villanova. His service in Vietnam has had a major influence on his work, particularly in his early plays. In 1971 both The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel, which traces a soldier's life from basic training to an ugly and ironic death in Vietnam, and Sticks and Bones, a slightly absurdist play that combines broad satire of U.S. family life with a realistic portrayal of the suffering of a blind veteran, were produced at Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival. Rabe's other plays of the 1970s were also produced there. Streamers (1976), which won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, is the most notable of his Vietnam plays. Set in an army barracks, it is a powerful presentation of the destruction that can result from blind, uncontrolled rage. Hurlyburly (1985), which concerns the hollow lifestyle of a group of hip southern California men, began a long run on Broadway in 1984. As with many of Rabe's other plays, it explores the horrors that can result from distorted ideas of masculinity. Another recent play, Goose and Tomtom (1987), is a forceful drama about two small-time jewel thieves. In it, Rabe explores the theme of the illusory nature of reality.

Ntozake Shange is a writer, educator, and poet. She was born Paulette Williams in Trenton, New Jersey on October 18, 1948. Shange graduated from Barnard College in 1970 and entered the University of California, Los Angeles, earning a master's degree in 1973. It was while in graduate school that she adopted her African name. Shange taught writing and took part in poetry readings and dance performances. She taught drama and creative writing at several colleges and universities, including Yale and Howard. In 1983, Shange became associate professor of drama at the University of Houston. Shange wrote For Colored Girls Who have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf, a choreopoem that opened on Broadway in 1976. The show won an Obie Award and was nominated for an Emmy, a Tony, and a Grammy. Shange also wrote the trilogy, Three Pieces, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry in 1981. She also received an Obie in 1981 for her adaptation of Bertold Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. Shange has also published novels, collections of poetry, and a children's book.

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