This week we have been spending time looking at Susan Lori Parks play, Topdog Underdog.
This Pulitzer prize winning play deals with the lives of Lincoln and
Booth, two brothers living on the fringe of life, trying to survive, and
showing us a lot about the state of street life in urban centers.
play’s are always filled with terrific imagery, symbolism and metaphor.
She is extremely adept at using literary allusions and connotations
within her work to drive social connections, storytelling context and
the thematic foundation for her plays in the worlds given circumstances
that she creates.
irony is that Parks would say that she does not employ these elements
and that the play is simply about relationships. While every play is
about relationships, one cannot ignore the rich use of symbolism and
metaphor in her play’s
Now that you have read her play, spent time with the pod cast, interview and support material, I would like you to identify Three of
these theatrical devices that the playwright uses in her play to move
her story along and provide emotional and intellectual dramatic
A few examples could be:
– The characters name, Booth and Lincoln
– What they do for work
– How they live
– Specific images, or literary allusions that they speak to
Once you have identified your Three examples,
explain why the image, symbol, metaphor, analogy or allusion is
important to the play, the playwrights intention and how you react to it
as a reader/audience member. How does the playwright use this to engage
the story in a stronger way? What does the image, symbol, allusion or
metaphor help to express in terms of Parks ideas about the play?
Lastly, how does her play Topdog Underdog become more powerful when seen within these various literary lenses?
summarize in your own words what you believe to be the overriding
themes, issues and idea that Parks is speaking to in this play. What do
you feel or believe she wants the audience to react to, think or feel
about when the play is finished? What was your own reaction when you
finished the play?
Your paper should be a minimum of Two pages . Woman in Theatre: Suzan-Lori Parks, playwright: