A poetic and symbolic investigation into one woman’s mind before her death, Funnyhouse of a Negro is perhaps Adrienne Kennedy’s most famous one-act play. In the upper rooms of a New York City brownstone, Sarah has created four different personas as a way to grapple with her own self-hatred: Queen Victoria, the Duchess of Hapsburg, Jesus, and Patrice Lumumba. With these four characters at her side, Sarah tries to make sense of her conception (from rape), her life without her parents, and the creeping insanity that she feels all around her. Also in the brownstone are her Landlady, a white woman who tries to talk to her, and Raymond, a Jewish poet interested in having a black girlfriend but not invested in Sarah’s well-being. Within this chaos are the images of Sarah’s mother and her father, Funnyhouse of a Negro is a macabre introspection of race and identity during the American Civil Rights Movement, sure to captivate and haunt audiences long after the curtain falls.
Funnyhouse of a Negro guide sections