Moving Marginal Characters to Center Stage

If you looked only at the subjects Suzan-Lori Parks has tackled--racism, homelessness, sexual hypocrisy--you might mistake her for a polemicist. Yet her dislocating stage devices, stark but poetic language and fiercely idiosyncratic images transform her work into something haunting and wondrous. Not one but two of her plays revolve around a character who makes a living as an arcade attraction playing Abraham Lincoln; patrons pay to impersonate John Wilkes Booth, grab a pistol and shoot him. (The image simply "burned itself into my mind," she explains.) Her spiky plays often take place in a strange nowheresville and feature Greek-style choruses or...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!