acts of reconstruction

Mount Holyoke College

Weissman Center for Leadership
and the Liberal Arts

Spring 2006

Dramas of Post-Civil War America: Sweet Maladies by Zakiyyah Alexander

The historical period of Reconstruction, which spanned the years 1865 – 1877, was an era of great promise, sectional upheaval, and historic legislative actions. Described by some scholars as America’s still incomplete revolution, the period of Reconstruction is most often discussed as the era when African American men gained the right to vote and federal troops were dispatched to keep public order throughout the South. It also was the period that saw substantial African American migrations to the West and North, and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1875, the first major American law to pass despite a presidential veto.

Sweet Maladies by Zakiyyah Alexander, award-winning playwright and visiting Mount Holyoke College Guest Artist in Residence, reconstructs the provocative world of early post-Civil War America. Inspired by the gripping 1940s play The Maids by French dramatist Jean Genet, Sweet Maladies is set in 1860s Richmond, Virginia. Alexander offers audiences an illuminating and absorbing glimpse into a world of unsettling choices and explosive communities. The play revolves around two newly emancipated girls who have survived the physical and emotional violence of the slaveholding South. As the era of Reconstruction begins, these two characters contend with the world that they have inherited and the society that they must reconstruct.

The Weissman Center is pleased to present in conjunction with the Theatre Department, Zakiyyah Alexander’s Sweet Maladies, an original and commissioned play for the Spring 2006 Weissman Center series, Acts of Reconstruction.

Event Details

Dates and Times:
Thursday-Saturday, April 27-29, 8:00pm
Saturday-Sunday, April 29-30, 2:00pm

Place: Rooke Theatre, Mount Holyoke College

Admission: $5 general, $3 students and seniors. MHC students FREE with ID opening night.
Box Office: or 413-538-2406.


To Rooke Theatre

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