Plays and Monologues
2015 - 194 pages
ISBN Paperback: 9789462099159 ($ 36.00)
Number 14 of the series: Social Fictions SeriesFree Preview Blackeyed
Winner! Emerging Artist Award (Literature) from the 2015 Cleveland Arts Prize (May 2015)
Blackeyed is a collection of plays and monologues. The topics covered in the book include housing and foreclosure, suicide, assault, mental health, the Black male experience, and more. The book intersects with critical race theory because the majority of this work positions race at the center of the experiences of the fictional or fictionalized characters. Embedded in these chapters are the interweaving of personal and ancestral stories, news reports, informal conversations, observations, interviews, and online research expressed in language unapologetically Black, critical, reflexive, and proud.
Blackeyed can be used as a class text in theatre, education, creative writing, communication, women’s studies, sociology, and African American studies undergraduate and graduate courses. It can also be used by theatre practitioners, including actors and directors, working in community, regional and national theatre settings. Individuals including qualitative researchers interested in exploring more affective possibilities or arts-based researchers can also read this collection as an example of methodological exemplar. Finally, anyone interested in the Black experience as well as the specific topics covered in this book can read this collection of plays as one might read a collection of short stories.
"Weems’ resonant poetic voice shines through the characters in bursts of dialect and nuance. Human conflict, racial undertones and the struggle for civil and human rights reverberate. If one were to attempt to connect with a glimpse of the lives of African Americans in this country absent from classroom history books and the limited cinematic mainstream depictions, Blackeyed is perfect starting point. In all of its admitted “messiness”, it provides context, perspective, form and substance. Through it all, the spirit of cultural authenticity is woven through the fabric of these narratives, perhaps unbeknownst to its author, connecting the DNA of the ancestors who planted the seeds of exposition in a griot long before her awareness of their existence. In the Now, they are undoubtedly marveling at the flower that blooms much to the delight of those exposed to its hauntingly tragic beauty." -- Vince Robinson
“Dr. Mary Weems exhibits her best writing through monologic and poetic forms in this intriguing collection of short dramatic works about African American experiences. Multiple voices showcase their characters’ struggles, humor, and triumphs through realistic and expressionistic modes. You don’t just “read” her dialogue; you hear it on the page. Weems’ writing styles are fluid, haunting, angry, poignant, and arresting. This is exciting theatrical work by one of qualitative inquiry’s most notable and important voices.” – Johnny Saldaña, Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University, Author of Ethnotheatre: Research from Page to Stage
“Mary Weems exemplifies literary arts-based inquiry practice in her new collection of plays, monologues and poems on the Black experience. She mines memory, history and auto/ethnography to craft pieces that are equal parts affective and effective. Affective in terms of their emotional impact and as acts of deep empathy. Effective in the ongoing struggle for social justice, equality and freedom. Weems shows us what risk-taking looks like in creative analytic practice: herwork embodies what Jonathan Lear calls “radical hope” as she insistson an ethical and caring stance in the face of cultural devastation. Read and learn.” – Monica Prendergast, University of Victoria, CoEditor, Poetic Inquiry: Vibrant Voices in the Social Sciences
“In this rare and precious work, Mary Weems takes the reader into the lives of myriad human, abstract and material others, who capture our attention and imagination, pulling us into their personal-political worlds. We feel their breath and their blood, their passions and their longings; we know their disappointments, their anger, their love. Weems’s writing does this for us. Tackling urgent social and political issues through/with finely-wrought characters, Weems’ book, in its power and its craft, leaves us changed. Something shifts.” – Jonathan Wyatt, The University of Edinburgh, Author of Always in thresholds, Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, 3, 1, 8-17
“It was fantastic, powerful, and intellectually rich. I love the way it connected disciplines; humanities, social sciences. It was a very liberal arts performance with a multidisciplinary perspective.” -- Denison University President Adam Weinberg, on Dr Mary Weems' performance of Black Notes at the DU campus on Martin Luther King Day 2016. (Black Notes is Dr Weems' one-woman play, which features several excerpts from her book Blackeyed).