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May 13 , 2008

The Stakes: Three Plays of the Black Experience

To Heal, to Train, to Entertain


This trio of plays explores the use of drama as a support in healing, training, and entertaining all. Using the healing and accessible art of theater, timely interests—addiction, HIV, mental illness, racial injustice, sexual harassment, and more—are brought to life in a trio of contemporary scripts.

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In the title play, “The Stakes,” an idealistic African American social worker—the target of workplace racism, sexual harassment, and political machinations—is encouraged by a coworker who shares with her his enthusiasm for African proverbs. A young woman strives to overcome her dual afflictions of mental illness and substance dependence in “Abiona.” With the help of health-care professionals, plus her own insights related to her African heritage, she learns to find hope again.

In an addiction-recovery center, one man struggles in his quest for sobriety. He finds solace in learning that the origins of the group’s holiday celebration can be found in African traditions. “GumBO” won the 2000 Script Writing Award given by the Gwendolyn Brooks Center of Chicago.

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