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Black Boy Cover

The Facts

Black Boy
by Richard Wright
Performed by
Tarantino Smith
Wynn Handman
Wynn Handman
Recommended Ages
13 and up or 7-12


All Stage Presentations include a 15 minute pre-show interactive discussion, a one hour performance, followed by a 15 minute post-show discussion, and a teacher resource guide. To get more information, or to begin the booking process, please fill out this form.

Black Boy / Richard Wright

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A verbatim adaptation of the classic American autobiographical work, Black Boy dramatizes Richard Wright's journey from childhood innocence to adulthood in the Jim Crow South. The issues addressed in this novel still resonate in today's cultural dialogue.

Live performance of Black Boy

Having premiered at the Kennedy Center, this Literature to Life original was adapted for the stage in 2005 and marked one of the first on our roster to tour to educational communities nationally.  The show features fifty minutes of verbatim performance from the first half of this epic American novel.  A tour de force, the actor plays upwards of fifteen characters from Richard Wright’s past.  The journey focuses on Richard’s hunger for knowledge and his fight to claim his basic human rights in a racist society.  Surrounded by an interactive pre and post show discussion, the audience will explore themes including Racism and Individualism/Non Conformity.

Black Boy © 1944 Richard Wright. Published by Perennial Classics and used by permission of the author.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: Staging Classic Works, and Confronting Authentic Language in the Modern Classroom
Posted by Jennifer Barnette
FROM THE ARCHIVES: Staging Classic Works, and Confronting Authentic Language in the Modern Classroom

SEPT 2008: The American Place Theatre’s executive director David Kener discusses the company’s “Literature to Life Program” and the rewards, and challenges, that come with staging classic works of literature.


Black Boy: Stories to Dream On
Posted by Jennifer Barnette

Director Wynn Handman’s adaptation of Richard Wright’s influential 1945 autobiography “Black Boy” into a taut one-hour show, presented for three nights over the weekend at the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater, omits some of the book’s more terrifying anecdotes—there are a lot of them—and homes in on the young Wright’s dawning awareness of racism and of the power of the written word.


Audience Response

"It was clear that seeing Black Boy live on stage drew in students who have a hard time connecting to what they read... who might have otherwise missed out on its resonance with their own experiences and struggles."

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