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Suzan Lori Parks

  • Birth Date

    Birth Date
    Born on May 10, 1963 in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
  • Lori's Parents

    Lori's Parents
    Donald and Francis McMillian Parks were her parents. Her father was a colonel in the United States Army, and Parks spent her early childhood in Odessa, Texas while her father served in Vietnam.
  • Places she has lived

    Places she has lived
    Parks has only lived in New York her whole life.
  • What her plays reflect on

    What her plays reflect on
    Suzan's dramatic plays reflect social imagery from American culture and history (such as injustice and racism).
  • Education

    Parks graduated from The John Carroll School in Bel-Air, Maryland in 1981. She entered Mount Holyoke College where she rediscovered her love for poetry and switched her major from chemistry to English and German literature. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Mount Holyoke in 1985.
  • Mini Background

    Mini Background
    Suzan-Lori Parks came standing as one of the most popular playwrights in the US. She is actually The first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize( which is a prestigious award) for Drama. She also went to school for theater to improve as a playwright.
  • Her work

    Her work
    Parks is known for her works such as “Topdog/Underdog,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2002. She has also written plays like “In the Blood,” “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World,” and “Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3).” Parks is celebrated for her innovative storytelling and exploration of complex themes related to race, history, and identity.
  • How many plays has Suzan wrote?

    How many plays has Suzan wrote?
    Parks has wrote a total of nine plays as of right now.
  • Her first produced play

    Her first produced play
    Her first produced play was Betting on the Dust Commander in 1987 which was a short, one-act play set in Kentucky that centered around the lives of a couple, Mare and Lucius, who had been married for 110 years. The production was so simple that Suzan ran the lighting cues and paid the actors and the director out of her own pocket.
  • Her first full-length play

    Her first full-length play
    "Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom" was her first full length play. The play portrays moments from African-American life in the United States extending back to enslavement. Each linked by symbolism from the study of nature. It addresses issues of black history and identity. It premiered at the Brooklyn Arts and Culture Association in 1989
  • "Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom"

    "Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom"
    The play "Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom" consists of a series of vignettes that depict various characters navigating the complexities of racial and cultural differences. Through surreal and symbolic storytelling, Parks delves into the ways in which individuals are shaped by their environments and histories. The play challenges traditional notions of identity and invites audiences to contemplate the mutability and fluidity of human experience.
  • "The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World"

    "The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World"
    The story revolves around the character of Black Man with Watermelon, who is the last black man alive. As he faces his impending death, various characters from history and mythology appear, representing different aspects of black culture and history. The play uses poetic language, non-linear storytelling, and surreal elements to delve into the complexities of race and humanity.
  • "Venus"

    “Venus” by Suzan-Lori Parks is a play that examines the exploitation and objectification of Saartjie Baartman, a South African woman exhibited in 19th-century Europe due to her physical features. The play dives into themes of racism, identity, and power dynamics, challenging societal norms and shedding light on the dehumanizing effects of colonialism.
  • "In the Blood"

    "In the Blood"
    “In the Blood” is a play written by Suzan-Lori Parks. It is a modern reimagining of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” and tells the story of Hester, a homeless woman with five children who struggle to survive in poverty. The play explores themes of motherhood, poverty, and societal neglect. Parks uses powerful language and symbolism to shed light on the struggles of marginalized individuals in society.
  • Marriage

    In 2001, Parks married musician Paul Oscher they then divorced in 2010. By 2017 she married Christian Konopka, with she has a child with.
  • "Topdog/Underdog"

    “Topdog/Underdog” is a play that revolves around the lives of two African American brothers, Lincoln and Booth. The play dives into their complex relationship, struggles with identity, and the themes of power and survival. Through powerful dialogue and symbolism. It creates a compelling and thought-provoking exploration of brotherhood, betrayal, and the search for meaning in a harsh and unforgiving world.
  • Children

    Her son Patrick lives in New York City with her and her husband Christian Konopka.
  • "Father Comes Home From the Wars"

    "Father Comes Home From the Wars"
    This play follows a slave named Hero who faces a moral dilemma when his master offers him freedom in exchange for fighting on the Confederate side during the American Civil War. The play delves into complex issues of power, race, and personal choice, exploring themes of freedom, loyalty, and identity.
  • "Fucking A"

    "Fucking A"
    “Fucking A" follows of a woman living in a terrifying society where she works as an abortionist and wears a red letter “A” on her chest as punishment for her past. As Hester navigates her difficult circumstances, the play delves into themes of love, betrayal, redemption, and the complexities of human relationships. Through powerful language and vivid imagery, Parks explores issues of morality, justice, and the struggle for personal freedom in a harsh and unforgiving world.
  • "White Noise"

    "White Noise"
    This play explores the complexities of race, identity, and communication in contemporary America. The play follows Leo, a black artist who becomes embroiled in a controversial art project involving racially charged imagery. As Leo navigates the challenges of artistic expression and societal expectations, “White Noise” delves into themes of race relations, cultural appropriation, and the power dynamics at play in the art world.
  • "Plays for the Plague Year"

    "Plays for the Plague Year"
    “Plays for the Plague Year” is a collection of short plays written by various playwrights in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plays address the challenges, emotions, and experiences brought about by the global health crisis. They cover a wide range of themes, including isolation, resilience, loss, and hope. Each play offers a unique perspective on the impact of the pandemic on individuals and communities, reflecting the diverse ways in which people have been affected.
  • In Conclusion

    In Conclusion
    Suzan-Lori Parks is known for addressing many themes of injustice, race, and power dynamics in her works. Her plays explore the difficulties of the African American experience, historical narratives, and societal injustices. Parks is known for her poetic storytelling. Overall, Suzan-Lori Parks’ main focus in her plays revolves around issues of race, history, and the human condition within the context of American society.