'Top Dog Underdog'
......the play's the thing
Weekend All Things Considered host Lisa Simeone (l) with
actor Don Cheadle (r) as recorded by NPR New York
bureau engineer Manoli Wetherell (center). Photo by
Walter Ray Watson
Actor, Jeffrey Wright plays Lincoln in Top Dog Underdog
Don Cheadle, Actor, Top Dog Underdog
"It was insane, it was bananas...but that's the reason to do it."
Suzan-Lori Parks, Playwright
Top Dog Underdog
July 8 2001 -- In the main hallway of the Public Theatre in New York
City, a sign heralds the current season of
productions, including a new play by Suzan-Lori Parks, Top Dog
Underdog. The play, described as "a darkly comic fable," opens
Host Lisa Simeone of NPR's Weekend All Things
Considered listens in on rehearsals with
actors Don Cheadle and Jeffrey Wright.
Producer/Director George C. Wolfe is head of the New
York Shakespeare Festival and the Public Theatre in
New York City. Though Wolfe directs Top Dog Underdog he is also a playwright. His credits include The
Colored Museum, Jelly's Last Jam, and Bring On the
Noise/Bring On the Funk. As a director, he's been in
charge of The Wild Party, and Angels In America.
The play tells the story of two blood brothers named Lincoln and Booth, one a card shark and Abe Lincoln
impersonator, the other, a student of the three-card-monty con game.
Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks says about the inspiration for writing her latest
play, "It chose me. I wasn't planning or plotting or scheming...."
Top Dog is
Parks' fourth play produced at the Public Theatre.