Cover sculptures by Virginia Cox


Aishah Rahman
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Subtitled “a light and dark skin comedy,” CHIAROSCURO is set on a cruise ship peopled by black singles where “pretty” means light-skinned, and all the men are dark, and Papa Legba, the African trickster spirit, is disguised as a ship steward.

Production Info

Cast: 7 total (4 female, 3 male)
Full Length Drama (about 100 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tag:

Press Quotes

“… there are only a very few dramatists who come immediately to mind when thinking about the major contemporary African American playwrights: Lorraine Hansberry, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Adrienne Kennedy, August Wilson, Ntozake Shange, and Aishah Rahman. Although she has not had the general name recognition of her contemporaries, Aishah Rahman has been widely celebrated for the craft, language, and vision of her plays. Her daring, innovative fusion of form and function has positioned her in the forefront of American women writing for the theater, and in the forefront of those playwrights who expand the limits, refuse the boundaries, and seek new territories in the formal and stylistic properties of drama as a genre and the theater as a medium.” —Thadious M Davis, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English, Vanderbilt University

About the Author


  • Aishah Rahman

    Aishah Rahman was born in Harlem on November 4, 1936 and died December 29, 2014 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. An accomplished playwright and author, Aishah was a Professor of Literary Arts and taught at Brown from 1992 – 2011. A graduate of Howard University and Goddard College, Rahman, along with Amiri Baraka, Larry Neal, Sonia Sanchez, and others was active in the 1960's Black Arts Movement. She described her writing as adhering to a "jazz aesthetic" and was the author of numerous plays, including the dramas UNFINISHED WOMEN CRY IN NO MAN'S LAND WHILE A BIRD DIES IN GILDED CAGE, THE MOJO AND THE SAYSO, ONLY IN AMERICA, CHIAROSCURO and three plays with music, LADY DAY A MUSICAL TRAGEDY, THE TALE OF MADAME ZORA and HAS ANYBODY SEEN MARIE LAVEAU? Her plays were produced at the Public Theatre, Ensemble Theatre, BAM and theaters and universities across the United States. She served as director of playwriting at the New Federal Theater in New York. Among her numerous fellowships, grants and awards are a special citation from the Rockefeller Foundation of the Arts for dedication to playwriting in the American Theater. Her plays are distributed by Broadway Play Publishing. Chewed Water: A Memoir, the story of growing up in Harlem in the 1940s and '50s, was published in 2001 by University of New England Press.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 12/1/2010
Pages 64
ISBN 9780881454727

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Chiaroscuro is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC