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“What Use Are Flowers?”

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Hansberry, Lorraine (American playwright, 1930-1965), “What Use Are Flowers?,”

a __-minute drama in English, set in a vast rocky plain at the edge of a great forest,

3m1f (+ 6 optional male extras);

  •  © 1972 by Robert Nemiroff and Robert Nemiroff as Executor of the Estate of Lorraine Hansberry;  •  in Les Blancs: The Collected Last Plays of Lorraine Hansberry, edited by Robert Nemiroff, Inc. (New York: Random House, Inc., 1972), ISBN 0394719018, LCCN 72008133, 370 pp., by permission of Random House, Inc., agent William Morris Agency, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, New York 10019, U.S.A., containing “Les blancs,” “The Drinking Gourd,” “What Use Are Flowers?”;  •  also in Lorraine Hansberry’s Les blancs: The Collected Last Plays of Lorraine Hansberry, edited, with critical backgrounds by Robert Nemiroff, introduction by Julius Lester (New York: Vintage Books, 1973), ISBN 0394719018, LCCN 72008133, 370 pp., (published with “Les blancs” and “The Drinking Gourd”), ISBN 0394719018;  •  also in Lorraine Hansberry’s The Collected Last Plays, edited, with critical backgrounds, by Robert Nemiroff, foreword and afterword by Julius Lester, introduction by Margaret B. Wilkerson, a Plume book (New York: New American Library, 1983), ISBN 0452254140, LCCN 82022578, 276 pp., previously published as Les blancs, 1st edition (New York: Random House, 1972), (published with “Les blancs” and “The Drinking Gourd”), ISBN 0452254140, ISBN 039446480X;  •  also in Lorraine Hansberry’s The Collected Last Plays, edited, with critical backgrounds, by Robert Nemiroff, foreword by Jewell Handy Gresham Nemiroff, introduction by Margaret B. Wilkerson (New York: Vintage Books, 1994), ISBN 0679755322, LCCN 95138858, 261 pp., (published with Les blancs” and “The Drinking Gourd”), previously published (New York: New American Library, 1983);  •  script/rights available from  William Morris Agency, 1325 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10019, U.S.A., telephone 212-586-5100, fax 212-246-3583; One William Morris Place, Beverly Hills, California 90212, telephone 310-859-4000, fax 310-859-4462; 2100 West End Avenue #1000, Nashville, Tennessee 37203, telephone 615-963-3000, fax 615-963-3090; 52/53 Poland Street, London, England W1F 7LX, telephone 011-44-20-7534-6800, fax 011-44-20-7534-6900.  •  Cited in Play Index 1973-1977: An Index to 3,848 Plays, edited by Estelle A. Fidell (New York: The H. W. Wilson Company, 1978), ISSN 0554-3037, LCCN 64-1054, p. 142.

  §  Dramatis Personae _____ (m), hermit; _____ (m), boy survivor; _____ (m), boy survivor; _____ (f), girl survivor.

  §  Synopsis “Hermit discovers only survivors of nuclear holocaust, are a group of children which he tries to civilize.

  §  Comment “Singing.”—Fidell, 142.  •  “Born in the Southside of Chicago in 1930, Lorraine Hansberry and her family moved to a large house in a white neighborhood in 1938. In order to live there, her father had to fight a civil rights case in the Supreme Court against segregationists. Her experiences with racial discrimination fueled her strong commitment to social justice and inspired her works. In 1959, her first-produced play, A Raisin in the Sun, met the enthusiastic praise of Broadway critics and audiences alike. It was the first and longest running play by an African-American woman to be produced on Broadway. When it won the New York Drama Circle Award for the best new drama that year, Hansberry became the first black woman and the youngest recipient to earn that honor. She died just a few years later, in 1965, without ever fully realizing her potential.”—Lorraine Hansberry - A Research and Production Sourcebook, http://info.greenwood.com/books/0313293/0313293120.html, accessed August 19, 2001.

  •  Research could include Richard M. Leeson’s Lorraine Hansberry: A Research and Production Sourcebook, Modern Dramatists Research and Production Sourcebooks, No. 13 (Westport, Connecticut, U.S.A.: Greenwood Press, 1997), ISSN 1055-999X, ISBN 0-313-29312-0192, LC 97-12283.  pp.

  •  Also, research could include Lorraine Hansberry Speaks Out: Art and the Black Revolution, a sound recording, excerpts from interviews and speeches compiled by Robert Nemiroff ([n.p.] Caedmon TC 1352. [1972]), LCCN 74-752660, p. 2 s. 12 in. 33 1/3 rpm. stereophonic, descriptive notes by the compiler on slipcase (containing “The Beauty of Things Black Towards Total Liberation,” “To Reclaim the African Past,” “Integration Into a Burning House,” “The Black Revolution and the White Backlash,” “We Are One People,” “My Government Is Wrong,” “Towards a New Black Leadership”).

  §  Themes children, civilizing, group, hermit, isolation, nuclear holocaust, survival.
See also Lorraine Hansberry’s
  • “Toussaint,” a drama (fragment from an unfinished work) in English, set in Haiti, 1m2f;  •  in 9 Plays by Black Women, edited and with an introduction by Margaret B. Wilkerson, a Mentor Book (New York: New American Library, 1986), ISBN 0451625064, containing Beah Richards’ A Black Woman Speaks, Alice Childress’ Wedding Band, Alexis DeVeaux’s The Tapestry, Aishah Rahman’s Unfinished Women Cry in No Man’s Land While a Bird Dies in a Gilded Cage, ntozake shange’s Spell #7, Kathleen Collins’ The Brothers, Elaine Jackson’s Paper Dolls, P. J. Gibson’s Brown Silk and Magenta Sunsets;  •  scripts/rights available from Samuel French, Inc., 25 West 45th Street, New York, New York 10010-2751, U.S.A., telephone 212-206-8990, fax 212-206-1429; or 7623 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California 90046-2795, U.S.A., telephone 213-876-0570, fax 213-876-6822; or 80 Richmond Street East, Toronto, Ontario M5C 1P1, Canada, telephone 416-363-3536, fax 416-363-1108; or Samuel French, Ltd., 52 Fitzroy Street, London W1P 6JR, England, SF 22173.


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