“Topdog/Underdog” at Trinity Rep
January 7 - February 13

Actors To Alternate Roles

Trinity Rep heats it up this winter with “Topdog/Underdog,” the explosive drama written by Suzan-Lori Parks, one of America's most acclaimed writers and the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

On the Rep's intimate Dowling Stage, two brothers share their lives together in a cramped room. Named Lincoln and Booth by their father as a joke, the two abandoned brothers have come to depend on each other for everything. Each hustles for a living - Booth, a natural-born thief, and Lincoln, once a three-card master, in an amusement arcade.

As Lincoln is trying to keep away from the lure of hustling cards, Booth is drawing nearer to the temptation. As the two brothers navigate a combustible world of violence, poverty and disadvantage, each alternately assumes the role of "topdog" in the relationship, but only one can remain so.

Director Kent Gash (“Ain't Misbehavin'”) returns to Providence along with versatile performers Joe Wilson, Jr. and Kes Khemnu. In a groundbreaking move, Gash has rehearsed the actors in this two-man show to perform both roles - alternating each performance during the run of the play.

Author Suzan-Lori Parks' vision of sibling rivalry boasts dialogue that crackles with the musicality of jazz and culminates in a passionate climax. "Topdog/Underdog" contains mature themes and situations.

After receiving a MacArthur "Genius Grant" award in 2001, playwright Suzan-Lori Parks won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in drama for “Topdog/Underdog.” She is a playwright and screenwriter whose other works include, “F--king A,” “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World,” “The Sinners Place,” “Devotees in the Garden of Love,” “Betting on the Dust Commander,” “Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom” (1990 Obie Award for Best New American Play), “The America Play,” “Venus” (1996 Obie Award) and “In the Blood.”

Her first feature film was “Girl 6,” directed by Spike Lee and her screenplay for “The Great Debaters” is slated to be directed by Denzel Washington.

Parks is an alumna of New Dramatists, an Associate Artist at Yale Rep, and has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, The Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, The W. Alton Jones Foundation, Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, TCG-Pew Charitable Trusts and is a two-time playwriting fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts.

For tickets, call the Trinity box office at 401-351-4242 or visit www.trinityrep.com.

-- OnStage Boston


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