Fund for New American Plays


New Federal Theatre, New York, NY

Set in Houston during the Depression, Christchild is an allegorical play which follows a bitter conflict between an alcoholic father and his young son. The play explores the crippling legacies of oppression and abuse and their impact upon the values and conduct of daily life. The play is just one part of an eight-play series which traces the life of a black family in Houston and its moral pilgrimage.

J.E. Franklin is a native of Houston and a graduate of the University of Texas. She is the recipient of a Rockefeller Fellowship, a Drama Desk Award, two Creative Artist Public Service grants, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is the author of a non-fiction book, Black Girl: From Genesis To Revelations, an autobiographical account of the development of her first major work from video to stage to screen. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, a Fellow of the Writers Guild of America East, and the PEN American Center, and in 1981 was a Eugene O'Neill Fellow at the National Playwrights Conference. Ms. Franklin's work has been performed at the Theatre of the Open Eye (New York), the George Street Playhouse (New Brunswick, NJ), and at the McGinn-Cazale/Second Stage (New York), which, in its 1984-85 season, produced Black Girl among its American Classics revival series. Her other plays include The Prodigal Sister, Under Heaven's Eye Til Cockcrow, Throw Thunder at this House, and several episodes from her octet of plays about the adolescent experience, among which are Christchild, Borderline Fool, and Where Dewdrops of Mercy Shine Bright. The last two had their world premieres at Rites & Reason Theatre, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. Ms. Franklin is also the author of The Book of Hagar, a work on institutional white racism, and Gray Panthers, a decatet of ten-minute plays. She is currently the director of the Zora Neale Hurston Writer's Workshop of the New Federal Theatre. Ms. Franklin is the mother of a teenage daughter, Malika, who is a professional actress and has been seen in numerous commercials.

Director: Irving Vincent
Set Designer: Felix Cochran
Lighting Designer: Jeff Gruzlik
Costume Designer: Judy Dearing
Sound Designer: Bill Toles
Featured Performers: Patti Brown, Vincent La Mar Campbell, Lee Roy Giles, Minerva Nanton, Michele Shay, Terri Towns, Charles Malik Whitfield
Running Dates: November 20-December 20, 1992

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