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Native Son

Production still from Native Son, 1941

Richard Wright (Playwright)
(co-adapted by Paul Green
and Orson Welles)

24 March – 28 June, 1941
Revival in October, 1942

           Based on the fantastic award winning novel by Richard Wright and directed by Orson Welles only two months before the release of his film masterpiece Citizen Kane. Starring Canada Lee as Bigger Thomas, a tormented black man in the slums of South Side Chicago wanted for killing a white woman. A powerful commentary on the American racial environment. (Source: IBDB)
           Richard Wright and Paul Green edited Native Son's plot to fit the time constraints of a play more easily. Certain parts are edited or cut completely. In the novel, the daughter of Bigger Thomas's employers, Mary, has a communist boyfriend, Jan, who Bigger tries to blame Mary's murder on. Bigger even tries to collect ransom for Mary's supposedly missing body. He also becomes the Dalton's chauffeur only after a failed robbery attempt of a white man's store. In the drama, these details are erased. It becomes simpler and more objective—Bigger becomes the Dalton's chauffeur because of a social worker. He kills Mary by accident, as in the book, but is shortly found after a manhunt through Chicago. (Source: Wikipedia)
          The 1941 production was Nominated for Best American Play by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle (1941). (Source: Playbill)

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