THE STORY: Hurston’s evocative prose and Wolfe’s unique theatrical style blend to create an evening of theatre that celebrates the human spirit’s ability to overcome and endure. Utilizing the blues, choral narrative and dance, the three tales focus on men and women trapped inside the “laughin’ kind of lovin’ kind of hurtin’ kind of pain that comes from being human.” The first of the three tales, SWEAT tells the story of a young washerwoman who is abused and betrayed by her estranged husband, and of her ultimate triumph over him. The second piece, STORY IN HARLEM SLANG, is told in 1940s Harlemese. It is the story of two street lotharios trying to outhustle each other and win the favor of—and a meal from—a domestic on her payday afternoon off. The third tale, THE GILDED SIX BITS, is a bittersweet story of an adoring husband’s betrayal by his loving but innocent wife.
Adapted for the stage from three short stories by Zora Neale Hurston. Music by Chic Street Man. This critically acclaimed adaptation was originally developed at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and was first presented in New York as a co-production of the New York Shakespeare Festival and Crossroads Theater Company.
“The true spunk in SPUNK belongs to Mr. Wolfe, who has gallantly met Zora Neale Hurston in the theater on her own uncompromising terms and, better still, has found the imaginative means to make good on his half of so challenging a collaboration. —NY Times. “The show—three pre-World War II vignettes of African-American life filtered through Hurston’s black, ornery and feminist sensibility—has class, wit and passion…This is a great show…another tantalizing taste of the no longer forgotten Zora Neale Hurston.” —NY Post. “Mr. Wolfe has adapted three stories by Miss Hurston—translated them, actually, into jazz and blues—giving them a powerful injection of irony and wit, which in no way diffuses their rage. Mr. Wolfe’s mordant humor and his teeming invention are all his own, and if an award were to be given for the most stylish show of the season, his SPUNK, at the Public, should be among the top candidates.” —The New Yorker. “Wolfe looks like a major talent on the rise, and SPUNK is a small gem.” —Variety.