Katori Hall

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Plays by Katori Hall

Hoodoo Love

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Young Toulou has run away from the cotton fields of Mississippi to big city Memphis to make it as a blues singer. When she falls in love with a rambling bluesman, Ace of Spades, she gives into the suggestions of the local madam, Candylady, and conjures up a hoodoo trick to make him fall in love with her back. When her brother Jib, a born-again Christian missionary, arrives in town, Toulou is forced to confront all that she was running away from, and a chain of events with devastating consequences is set in motion.

The first of Katori Hall’s ‘Memphis Plays’, Hoodoo Love is set during the Great Depression, when the memory of slavery, and the slave belief in hoodoo folk magic, is still very much alive. With original music and lyrics by Katori Hall, the play was first produced by Cherry Lane Theatre, New York City in 2007.

Hurt Village

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Set in the early noughties, Hurt Village is the story of a community disregarded by the state. A housing project in North Memphis, originally developed in the 1950s to attract white residents, the area had, by the nineties, become a byword for poverty and drug-related crime. In 2000, the Memphis City government received a $35 million federal grant in order to redevelop the area, and in 2003, the neighbourhood was demolished, following the relocation of hundreds of black residents.

Hurt Village is not just a housing project, it’s a way of life for thirteen-year-old Cookie. Desperate to move her family out of the project, Cookie’s great-grandmother, Big Mama, is waiting on the local government to find them a new homr in suburban Raleigh. When she’s denied aid due to earning slightly over the public assistance maximum, her grandson, Buggy, recently returned from war and suffering from PTSD, renews old acquaintances and plunges the family back into a life of drug-dealing, addiction and gang violence, in order to forge a better life for them somewhere new.

Hurt Village premiered at the Signature Theatre Company, New York City, in 2012. It is the fourth of Katori Hall’s ‘Memphis’ plays.

The Mountaintop

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The night before his assassination, King retires to room 306 in the now-famous Lorraine Motel after giving an acclaimed speech to a massive church congregation. When a mysterious young maid visits him to deliver a cup of coffee, King is forced to confront his past and the future of his people.

Portraying rhetoric, hope and ideals of social change, The Mountaintop also explores what it is to be human in the face of inevitable death. The play is a dramatic feat of daring originality, historical narration and triumphant compassion.

The Mountaintop received its world premiere at Theatre503, London, on 9 June 2009, and opened on Broadway on 13 October 2011. It is the third of Hall's 'Memphis Plays' tetralogy.

Saturday Night/Sunday Morning

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Set in the final days of the Second World War at Miss Mary’s Press and Curl beauty parlour and women’s boarding house in Memphis, Tennessee, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning unites a group of young women whose lives have been affected by the loss of men to the war and the upheaval of social attitudes that followed.

When sisters Taffy and Mabel tire of Leanne’s ongoing depression over a lack of correspondence from her soldier sweetheart, Bobby, they persuade new lodger and aspiring writer, Gladys, to write to Leanne in Bobby’s hand. As their lies spiral out of control, the girls and Miss Mary must learn to navigate the nuances of love, sexuality and sisterhood.

At times laugh-out-loud funny, at times tragically sad, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning always rings true. It is the second of Katori Hall’s ‘Memphis Plays’.

Katori Hall is from Memphis, Tennessee. Her play The Mountaintop was first produced to great acclaim at Theatre503, London, in June 2009, and received a transfer to the Trafalgar Studios, London, the following month. It won the Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2010, and opened in Broadway's Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, New York City, in October 2011. Her other plays include Hurt Village (Classical Theatre of Harlem Future Classics Reading Series, BRIC Studio, 2007), Hoodoo Love (Cherry Lane Theatre, New York, 2007), Remembrance (Women's Project/World Financial Center site-specific work, 2007), Saturday Night/Sunday Morning (Classical Theatre of Harlem Future Classics Reading Series, The Schomburg Centre, New York, 2008), WHADDABLOODCLOT!!!, The Hope Well and Pussy Valley. Her numerous awards include the 2007 Fellowship of Southern Writers Bryan Family Award in Drama, a 2006 New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship in Playwriting and Screenwriting, a residency at the Royal Court Theatre in 2006, and the 2005 Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting award.