Theater groups team up to present Pulitzer Prize-winning play

Oct. 11, 2007 9 a.m.
Williams and Clifton

Below left: The play by Suzan-Lori Parks' won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2002. It tells the story of two brothers, Lincoln (Williams), a former master at three-card monte who has sworn off cards, and Booth (Clifton), a petty thief with ambitions to become a monte master.
Photos: Denise Applewhite

Two student theater groups are joining forces this year to present Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Topdog/Underdog" at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, Oct. 11-13 and 18-20, in the Hamilton-Murray Theater. A matinee performance is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20.

The show is a co-production of the Black Arts Company: Drama and Theatre Intime, two organizations that worked together to bring August Wilson's "Fences" to the stage in March 2006. It is being directed by junior Osei Kwakye and produced by senior Roger Q. Mason.

The play, which won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for drama, is a darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity. It tells the story of two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, whose names were given to them by their parents as a joke, foretelling a lifetime of sibling rivalry.

Lincoln, played by junior Justin Williams, is a former master at three-card monte who has sworn off cards in favor of another form of deception: impersonating Abraham Lincoln in an arcade. Booth, played by senior Zennen Clifton, is a petty thief with ambitions to become a monte master.

Deuce of clubs

Parks, the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in drama, also has won a MacArthur "genius" grant, among many other honors. "Topdog/Underdog" had an extended run on Broadway in 2002, with hip-hop artist and actor Mos Def and actor Jeffrey Wright in the lead roles.

Tickets for the Princeton production are $8 for students and children; $10 for faculty, staff and senior citizens; and $12 for general admission. They can be purchased online through University Ticketing or by calling the Frist Campus Center ticket office at (609) 258-1742. Tickets also will be available for sale at the Hamilton-Murray Theater 45 minutes prior to each performance.

The Black Arts Company: Drama, founded in 1995, is a student-managed theater experience dedicated to celebrating and exploring the cultural experiences of people from the African Diaspora through performance. The company seeks to present a tapestry of life experiences by producing plays written by people of color.

Theatre Intime is a student troupe whose beginnings trace to February 1920, when five Princeton students staged their first performance -- a parody of the Ballet Russe -- in a dorm room. Theatre Intime takes its name from the French word for "intimate," which best describes the 200-seat theater in which it performs.