THE SISTUHS–a two-act play with music

The Sistuhs

Play script: Free

Set in a large midwestern city during the early to mid 1970s, the theme is survival and the rhythms we move in to get from day to day, dream to dream. A theatrical collage of dialogue, monolog, poetry, song and dance, the characters flow from one rhythm pattern into a new one.

Inspired by Zulema Cusseaux’s song lyric, “What is to become of thee, American fruit with African root?,” I began work on The Sistuhs while a member of esteemed novelist John Oliver Killens’ Writers Workshop in New York City. In 1975 the play received its first staged reading in the Frank Silvera Playwrights Workshop, led by Garland Thompson for the New York Black Theatre Alliance. It was mounted at the Los Angeles Actors Theatre, Cleveland’s Karamu Theatre, the Oakland {CA} Ensemble Theatre, Brooklyn’s Billie Holiday Theatre and other sites. A playscript was published in 1990.

Logo art by Kinshasha Conwill.

Responses

“Sassy, classy, funny, sad and highly entertaining.”
–Ron Pennington, The Hollywood Reporter

“Filled with the language and truisms of Black folk culture, Sistuhs is a play of recognition, validation and affirmation. Sharp’s women insist on being themselves without apologies, while at the same time loving their men. The songs shrewdly advance the action. The vitality of this powerful work keeps it fresh and current.”
–Margaret B. Wilkerson, Editor, 9 Plays By Black Women

“This dynamic cafeteria does serve entrees, the cameo portraits are sharply drawn and wonderful. I might even think about falling in love again.”
–Robert Hurwitt, Express News, Berkeley {CA}


Photo Notes – THE SISTUHS

#1
Los Angeles Actors Theater[LAAT]. 1977, directed by Dick Anthony Williams
T. K. Carter, Vernee Watson, Ellerine Harding, James Hawthorne
scene: “Sidewalks”  photo: Greg Deitz

#2
Anthony Gourdine, Bhetty Whaldron, as Arthur and Ernestine
photo: Greg Deitz

#3
(scan from book)
center: Veronica Redd as Jean, Anthony Gourdine as Chuck
standing: Brandyn Artise as Carol
photo: Greg Deitz
scene: Jimmy’s Lounge

#4
Cleveland’s Karamu Theatre, 1976, directed by Margaret Ford-Taylor
Brenda Butler as Clydie, with Maurice Goggins.
photo: ean Schnell
scene: Cocoons and Rooms”

The Sistuhs-Image 1

#1


The Sistuhs-Image 2

#2


The Sistuhs-Image 3

#3


The Sistuhs-Image 4

#4