Rita Dove reflects on her experiences as a playwright and shares the story of how her adaptation of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannos, titled The Darker Face of the Earth, reached the stage. The dynamic life of her play includes early versions that underwent deep revision, a premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1996, and a variety of subsequent productions, including major performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and the Royal National Theatre in London. Ahead of the staged reading of The Darker Face of the Earth on March 24, Dove explains the history of her theatrical masterpiece. For free tickets to the staged reading on the 24th, visit here.
Ohio native Rita Dove is among the most important literary artists of her generation. Born in Akron and an alumna of Miami University, she has flourished as a poet, novelist, essayist and playwright. Her accomplishments as a poet led to service as Poet Laureate of both the United States (1993-1995) and the Commonwealth of Virginia (2004-2006). Dove has earned critical acclaim and scores of literary and academic awards throughout her career, including the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the 2009 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, and, most recently, the inaugural 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars Award. She has over two dozen honorary doctorates and is the only poet to have won both a National Humanities Medal (1996) and a National Medal of Arts (2011). Her many collections of poetry include Thomas and Beulah (1986) and Sonata Mulattica (2009), as well as Collected Poems 1974-2004 (which was published in 2016 and received a 2017 NAACP Image Award). Composer John Williams wrote the music for her song cycle "Seven for Luck" and first performed it with the Boston Symphony in 1998. The Darker Face of the Earth premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1996 and has been restaged many times since, including a BBC radio production starring Chiwetel Ejiofor in 2003.
These events are free, open to the public, and co-sponsored by:
The Department of African American and African Studies
The Department of Classics
The Department of Theatre
The Wexner Center for the Arts
A Ronald and Deborah Ratner Distinguished Teaching Award