The Green Book Wine Club Train Trip

Five African-American women board a train in Kansas City, friends convening for a movable feast of good wine and impromptu book chat. When one, the ruminative, ever curious librarian Marie gets off, the contemporary world disappears in a flash and time itself collapses around her. Suddenly, she's very alone and in the stark, informally segregated Booneville depot. It's the ripe, slower-paced, Billie...
Five African-American women board a train in Kansas City, friends convening for a movable feast of good wine and impromptu book chat. When one, the ruminative, ever curious librarian Marie gets off, the contemporary world disappears in a flash and time itself collapses around her. Suddenly, she's very alone and in the stark, informally segregated Booneville depot. It's the ripe, slower-paced, Billie Holiday-infused but palpably dangerous 1940s Midwest, and Marie, armed only with her grandmother's out-of-print guide, The Negro Motorist Greenbook, must negotiate the threatening landscape of Jim Crow. She's befriended by the sharp-tongued, pragmatically savvy owner of a "colored" brothel, and in short order introduced to another America: where covert transactional assignations are the stuff of hardscrabble survival, and black women must carve out decent lives in the midst of staggering odds. How will Marie get back to her comfy train car of smart-phones and glib, R&R obsessed contemporary peers? What will she be forced to reckon with, plopped in the middle of a richly textured, sometimes sweet, sometimes melancholy, often oppressive pre-ascendant civil rights climate? Where at any moment, lives are at stake, violent death a reality? With heart and non-stop humor, The Green Book Wine Club Train Trip plunges its unlikely heroine into an unexpected, deeply personal quest, one ultimately arming her with a brand new perspective and maybe even wisdom.
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The Green Book Wine Club Train Trip

Recommended by

  • Matthew Weaver:
    26 Jul. 2017
    Wow. Wow. Amazing, astounding, astonishing and accomplished all in one breath. Historically honest and pure fun at the same time, from beginning to end. Johnson writes smart, compelling, SMART, lovable characters, and we as readers/viewers are putty in her hands.I especially adore that she allows her characters to figure things out. A pleasure. Exceptional. Please, Michelle, write more things!
  • Hal Corley:
    14 Jul. 2017
    This funny, heartfelt, remarkably agile, and finally provocatively subversive play is a genuine beauty, built on a compelling construct, a wine and book club sojourn vs time-capsuled denizens of a 1940s brothel. Marie, our richly drawn, multifaceted protagonist meets her match in Bertha, who has an August Wilsonian world-weary grace. The mix of bewilderment and curiosity as these two school one another in the tropes and threats of Jim Crow vs. 2017 is masterful. Time travel itself is the ultimate poetic metaphor, a building riff until suddenly the journey deepens, making our experience of these shared worlds even fuller. Extraordinary.
  • Donna Hoke:
    11 Jul. 2017
    What a pleasure to spend time with these five wonderful women! When all we know of the past are the things we feel are best left behind, we reduce those times to labels and worst case scenarios that overshadow the moments and love that make up lives. With humor and poignancy, THE GREEN BOOK... reminds us that there's always a little something sacrificed for progress, a bit of cognitive dissonance in keeping with a play about time travel.

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Olathe (Ks) Civic Theatre Association
    ,
    2017
  • Reading
    ,
    National Black Theatre (NYC)
    ,
    2017

Awards

Winner
,
New Works Play Competition
,
Olathe Civic Theatre Association
,
2017