Sidney Kingsley

Five Prizewinning Plays

Sidney Kingsley. Edited by Nena Couch.


407 pp. 6x9

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“Kingsley’s plays are a milestone in American drama, marking the end of committed American political theater. . . . The writing power, the mastery of the issues, and the complexity of the stage vision give these plays a permanent place in our theater. . . . It’s good to see these plays, well edited, again.” —Library Journal

Sidney Kingsley was a playwright, but through his writing he played many other parts as well—a social and political activist, a health care reformer, an advocate for children, a patriot, a visionary. Of his nine professionaly produced plays, five garnered major awards. This collection of Kingsley’s award-winning plays fills a void in American dramatic publishing and provides the definitive edition of the plays, each with an introduction by the playwright. Although critical statements on Kingley’s work do appear in significant studies of American theatre, and though his plays continue to be produced, there has never been a standard edition of his major works.

Strong threads weave these plays inextricably into the fabric of twentieth-century American theatre—their meticulous, gut-wrenching, yet inspiring realism; their roles of great breadth for actors; their masterfully constructed scripts that in combination with outstanding design provide first-rate theatrical presentations; and perhaps most importantly, their unswerving attention to grave human issues.

At a time when abortion may again become illegal and the inadequacy of the health care system is a daily topic, when children facing hopelessness and poverty stare at us from the evening news, when police brutality cases are before the courts, and when issues of individual patriotism and the position of the United States as a democracy in a rapidly changing world arise—in a time, in fact, when all the human rights issues and social problems dealt with in these plays are still, or again, with us—Sidney Kingsley has proven to be a playwright whose work is timely as well as timeless.

Includes: Men in White, Dead End, The Patriots, Detective Story, and Darkness at Noon.

Nena Couch is curator of the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute and assistant professor of theatre at The Ohio State University. She is the compiler and editor of The Francis Robinson Collection of Theatre, Music, and Dance: A Manuscripts Catalog, coeditor of The Humanities and the Library, and author of several articles published in Theatre Studies, Tracings, and Studies in American Drama, 1945–Present.