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Deadly Triplets

A Theatre Mystery and Journal

1990
Author:

Adrienne Kennedy

Deadly Triplets

A surrealistic intertwining of mystery and autobiography set in the theatre world of 1960s London.

A surrealistic intertwining of mystery and autobiography set in the theatre world of 1960s London.

The playwright and poet Adrienne Kennedy, a visiting professor at Harvard University and one of the black female doyennes of theater, where she has become a role model for a younger generation, was the subject of a yearlong celebration of her work by the Signature Theater Company in 1995-1996.

New York Times March 21, 1999

The highly experimental nature of Adrienne Kennedy’s plays transformed the landscape of Black American theatre in the past two decades and yet, oddly, left her on the periphery of her field, often feeling like an uninvited guest. Infused with colliding images of torment and tranquility, violence and peace, horror and beauty, her surrealistic dramas open a window into her own life. “The characters are myself,” she has said, the condensed expression of a theatrical mind that integrates diverse autobiographical, political, and aesthetic images into a uniquely personal narrative.

Although a decided departure from her plays, Deadly Triplets: A Theatre Mystery and Journal is the logical extension of Kennedy’s work - equally experimental, equally compelling. The book, as the title suggests, consists of two separate, yet integrally linked, entities. The “Theatre Mystery” (fiction) and “Theatre Journal” (nonfiction) exist simultaneously, mirror images of each other. Both are enshrouded with the same sense of mystery, silence, and eternity, presenting thickening layers of images rather than progressive action to develop their story: an interior monologue that sees that character as author coming to terms with the life of the author as character.

“I remembered the wonderful teas at the Royal Court and I decided to make the Royal Court Theatre at Sloane Square the major setting for my mystery novel: The Tower of London, the Thames, squares shrouded in mist, fog rising over Primrose Hill. . . all of it still mesmerized me.”

Adrienne Kennedy is a playwright and writer living in New York City. Her best-known plays include Funnyhouse of a Negro (which received an Obie in 1964), The Owl Answers, A Rat’s Mass, and A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White. She has published People Who Led to My Plays and, with Minnesota, Adrienne Kennedy in One Act. “A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White” is included in the Norton Anthology of American Literature, third edition, volume 2.

A surrealistic intertwining of mystery and autobiography set in the theatre world of 1960s London by Obie-winning playwright Adrienne Kennedy.

“Though markedly different from her plays, Adrienne Kennedy’s mystery story Deadly Triplets gives us insights into the working of a creative mind, how place influences genius, and seemingly innocent events become theatre.”
Barbara Christian

“American Book Award winner Adrienne Kennedy has proven once again that she is among America’s most imaginative and innovative writers.”
Ishmael Reed

Deadly Triplets

Adrienne Kennedy is a playwright and writer living in New York City. Her best-known plays include Funnyhouse of a Negro (which received an Obie in 1964), The Owl Answers, A Rat’s Mass, and A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White. She has published People Who Led to My Plays and, with Minnesota, Adrienne Kennedy in One Act. “A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White” is included in the Norton Anthology of American Literature, third edition, volume 2.

Deadly Triplets

The playwright and poet Adrienne Kennedy, a visiting professor at Harvard University and one of the black female doyennes of theater, where she has become a role model for a younger generation, was the subject of a yearlong celebration of her work by the Signature Theater Company in 1995-1996.

New York Times March 21, 1999

An extraordinary artist.

George C. Wolfe (from an article on Kennedy in the New York Times, July 1995

Like most great artists in whose work different cultures and styles converge, Adrienne Kennedy is unique.

Ishmael Reed

Though markedly different from her plays, Adrienne Kennedy’s mystery story Deadly Triplets gives us insights into the working of a creative mind, how place influences genius, and seemingly innocent events become theatre.

Barbara Christian

A fine mystery novella based on Kennedy’s experiences in London . . . Most interesting is the interplay with the autobiographical form.

Library Journal

For her first novel, the talented playwright Adrienne Kennedy has had the intriguing idea of infusing her theatrical experiences in London with a Gothic sensibility and transforming them into a mystère à clef. . . . [She] paints precise portraits of such luminaries as Edward Albee, Joseph Losey and Fay Weldon, and tells a classic story of betrayal in the theater.

New York Times Book Review