Adrienne Earle Pender

Adrienne Earle Pender

Adrienne Earle Pender began her writing career in 2001. Her first play, The Rocker, was a finalist in the Dayton Playhouse Future Fest 2002 Festival of New Works in Dayton, Ohio. The Rocker made its world premier in February 2004 at Theater in the Park in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her play, Stone Face was a selection in the Reader's Theater at the 2003 National Black Theater Festival, and was an alternate...
Adrienne Earle Pender began her writing career in 2001. Her first play, The Rocker, was a finalist in the Dayton Playhouse Future Fest 2002 Festival of New Works in Dayton, Ohio. The Rocker made its world premier in February 2004 at Theater in the Park in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her play, Stone Face was a selection in the Reader's Theater at the 2003 National Black Theater Festival, and was an alternate selection for the 2004 Edward Albee 12th Annual Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska. Her short play, The Murder of Love was selected for the Short Play Lab at the same conference. Additionally, Banana Split Lady made its debut at the 1st Annual Great Plains Theatre Conference in Nebraska. Her play, Somewhere In Between, had a staged reading at the Drama Book Shop in New York in 2010; a staged reading at Wordsmyth Theater in Houston, TX in May, 2014; and Somewhere In Between received a full production from Theater in the Park in Raleigh in September 2014.

Her most recent play, "N," about African-American actor Charles S. Gilpin, was a finalist in the Dayton Playhouse 2016 Future Fest competition. "N" received a workshop and a staged reading at the Eugene O'Neill Festival in Danville, CA in September 2016, and made its world premiere in February 2017 at Theatre in the Park in Raleigh, NC.

Adrienne received a Tao House Fellowship by the Eugene O’Neill Foundation in September 2015. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University, and is a member of the Dramatist Guild.

Plays

  • "N"
    Eugene O’Neill’s groundbreaking 1921 play, The Emperor Jones, was the first American play that featured an African-American actor in the lead role on Broadway. Charles S. Gilpin’s portrayal of Emperor Brutus Jones was hailed as “revelatory,” and he was named the finest actor of the age. The opening of The Emperor Jones made stars of both men; it was O’Neill’s first commercial success, and Charles Gilpin became...
    Eugene O’Neill’s groundbreaking 1921 play, The Emperor Jones, was the first American play that featured an African-American actor in the lead role on Broadway. Charles S. Gilpin’s portrayal of Emperor Brutus Jones was hailed as “revelatory,” and he was named the finest actor of the age. The opening of The Emperor Jones made stars of both men; it was O’Neill’s first commercial success, and Charles Gilpin became the toast of the theater world. But by 1926, O’Neill was a legend and Gilpin was lost to history. N explores the challenging relationship between Gilpin and O’Neill and how it ultimately hinged on one word; a word that lifted one of them to the heights of American theater, and a word that destroyed the other.
  • Somewhere In Between
    In present-day Philadelphia, Act One opens four weeks after the funeral of Marcus Hahn. McKenna Hahn (Caucasian) has asked her brother, Jackson, and her best friend Stacey (Asian-American), to come to the home she and Marcus (African-American) lived in. They discuss whether McKenna should move and return the Hahn family home back to Marcus’s sister, Denise, who very much wants the house back. McKenna enters and...
    In present-day Philadelphia, Act One opens four weeks after the funeral of Marcus Hahn. McKenna Hahn (Caucasian) has asked her brother, Jackson, and her best friend Stacey (Asian-American), to come to the home she and Marcus (African-American) lived in. They discuss whether McKenna should move and return the Hahn family home back to Marcus’s sister, Denise, who very much wants the house back. McKenna enters and tells Jackson and Stacey that she is pregnant. McKenna hopes to stay in the home and believes that telling Denise she is pregnant will change Denise’s mind.

    The next afternoon (Act 1 Scene 2), Denise comes to the house to take a few mementoes of Marcus’s for her parents. Denise has never liked McKenna and now that Marcus is gone, so has Denise’s civility. She reveals her racially based feelings in a biting exchange with McKenna and demands that McKenna return to her a missing pocket watch, a family heirloom. McKenna tells Denise she will look for it. McKenna says Andrew, a friend of Marcus’s, is coming to pay his respects, which elicits a strong reaction from Denise. A few days later (Act 1 Scene 3) Stacey comes to spend the night and cheer McKenna with a night of singing, similar to their college days. Stacey drinks a little too much and McKenna sends Stacey upstairs to sleep.

    Andrew (African-American) arrives at the house (Act 1 Scene 4). A friend of Marcus’s since college, Andrew and McKenna share stories of Marcus and McKenna bonds quickly with him. She reveals her pregnancy to him when she realizes how close the two men were, but as they continue talking she begins to question why Marcus never discussed Andrew. When she asks Andrew why he came to see her, he gives her the missing pocket watch; Marcus had given it to him years before. McKenna puts the pieces together – that Marcus and Andrew were lovers. She orders him out of her home as Stacey comes down to comfort her friend, and Act One ends.

    Act Two opens with Jackson and McKenna discussing Marcus’s affair. Denise comes to pick up mementoes but Jackson gets her to reveal that she knew about Marcus and Andrew all along, and that their relationship was long-term, pre-dating Marcus and McKenna’s marriage. Jackson and Denise argue about McKenna until McKenna throws them both out of the house. As she is leaving, McKenna gives Denise the pocket watch, and tells her that she is pregnant. A softer side of Denise emerges as she reveals her heartbreak over losing Marcus.

    Stacey comes a few days later to console her friend (Act 2 Scene 2). She gets McKenna to open up about how she knew she loved Marcus by sharing stories about their courtship. Stacey says she will never believe Marcus didn’t love McKenna. McKenna questions Marcus’s devotion to her, and Stacey suggests that the only person who may have the answers she needs is Andrew.

    Andrew comes to the house (Act 2 Scene 3) as he and McKenna are both looking for answers. Initially hostile, they bond again over their shared grief. McKenna asks Andrew if Marcus was in love with him. He replies that Marcus loved him but wasn’t in love with him any longer, and that McKenna’s pregnancy might have ended their relationship. Andrew asks McKenna to let him know how the baby is and how her life with her new family progresses.

    In the final scene (Act 2 Scene 4) Jackson and Stacey continue their argument over whether McKenna should move. McKenna reveals her final decision to stay in the house. Jackson is incredulous at not only this decision, but McKenna’s apparent softening over Marcus’s betrayal. Jackson’s own racism is revealed, but he tells McKenna he only ever wanted to take care of her. McKenna calls Marcus’s parents and invites them to dinner and after everyone leaves, she calls Denise and invites her to join them.