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Michigan State University

RCAH 202 - Fall 2015 - Professor Lisa Biggs: Performance

I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky

Banner image for I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky

African American poet and activist June Jordan wrote the text for this modern choral work, about the lives of seven young people in Los Angeles just before the 1994 earthquake.

Her characters struggle with issues of immigration, birth control, and criminal law. Music by composer John Adams.

Selected plays with political & social themes

8 [about California Proposition 8 in 2008]. Dustin Lance Black, 2013.

Daughters of Courage: The Play. Red Jordan Arobateau, 1996.

Music History. Sandra Seaton, 2010.

My Children! My Africa! Athol Fugard, 1990.

Our Dyke House: A Play. Red Jordan Arobateau, 1996.

Perdition: A Play in Two Acts. Jim Allen, 1987.

Strange Fruit: Plays on Lynching by American Women. Indiana University Press, 1998.

To Live and Die in Berkeley: A Verse Play in Three Acts. Mike Rosen, 1970.

Torch Song Trilogy: Three Plays. Harvey Fierstein, 1979.

The Way We Live Now: American Plays and the AIDS Crisis. Theatre Communications Group, 1990.

From the Diary of Sally Hemings

Cover image of CD "From the Diary of Sally Hemings"

Sally Hemings was an enslaved woman of mixed race who was owned by Thomas Jefferson, third president of the U.S. Jefferson is believed by many scholars to have been the father of Hemings' six children.

Hemings herself did not leave behind any writings, but playwright Sandra Seaton imagined her life in From the Diary of Sally Hemings.

Seaton's text was then set to music by composer William Bolcom:

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