The Death of Bessie Smith

Memphis, Tennessee, 1937, a time when the South’s aristocracy is crumbling amidst the deeply racist views of its citizens. At a white hospital a Nurse belittles a black Orderly, a polite young man eager to improve himself, and is severely condescending to an Intern, a white man, who is seemingly in love with her. When the Intern finally turns on her she vows to retaliate by ruining his career.

Type: Short Play

Acts: One

First Performance: 21 April 1960, Schlosspark Theater, Berlin; 1 March 1961, York Playhouse, New York

Awards: Berlin Festival Award, 1960. Best Plays of the 1960-1961 Season, Foreign Press Association, 1961.

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