Adaptor 1 Sears, Djanet
Date of First Production
1997, April 20-May 18
Title Harlem Duet
Djanet Sears
Place of First Production
Tarragon Extra space, Toronto
Production Company
Nightwood Theatre
Technical Design/Direction
Set and Costume Design: Teresa Przbylski
Lighting Design: Lesley Wilkinson
Music and Sound Design: Allen Booth
Stage Manager: Cheryl Francis
Assistant Stage Manager: Andrea Ottley
Dramaturgy: Diane Roberts and Kate Lushington
Assistant Director: Maxine Bailey
Billie: Alison Sealy-Smith
Othello: Nigel Shawn Williams
Magi: Barbara Barnes Hopkins
Amah/Mona: Dawn Roach
Canada: Jeff Jones
Double Bass: Lionel Williams [Onstage Musician]
Cello: Doug Innes [onstage musician]
Performance History
2006, June 20-September 22
Director: Djanet Sears
Place of Production: Studio Theatre, Stratford, Ontario
Series Festival Title: Stratford Festival of Canada

Technical Design:
Set and Costume design: Astrid Janson
Lighting Design: Paul Mathiesen
Music Composition: Paul Booth

Magi: Barbara Barnes-Hopkins
Canada: Walter Borden
Billie: Karen Robinson
Othello: Nigel Shawn Williams
Amah: Sophia Walker
Cello: Robert Bardson [Onstage Musician]
Double Bass: Bryant Didier [Onstage Musician]
2002, December
Director: Christine Dymkowski
Place of Production: RHUL Studio Theatre, Royal Holloway University, England
2002, November 9- December 1
Director: Djanet Sears
Place of Production: Blue Heron Arts Centre, New York City, New York
Production Company: Blue Heron Production Company
Series Festival Title: AfriCanadian Playwright's Festival

Technical Design:
Scenic & Costume Design: Astrid Janson
Lighting Design: Thom Weaver
Sound Design & Original Music: Allen Booth
Production Stage Manager: Bayo
Press Representative: Jim Baldassare
Associate Producer: Leslie (Hoban) Blake

Othello: Gregory Simmons
Billie: Perri Gaffney
Magi: Barbara Barnes Hopkins
Canada: Walter Borden
Amah: Nyjah Moore Westbrook
Bass: Reggie Carson [Onstage Musician]
Cello: Nioka Workman [Onstage Musician]
2000, April
Director: Alison Sealy-Smith
Place of Production: Neptune Theatre, Halifax, Nova Scotia
1997, October 27-November 29
Director: Djanet Sears
Place of Production: The Canadian Stage Theatre, Toronto, Ont
Production Company: Nightwood Theatre and Canadian Stage Co.

Technical Design:
Arranger/Composer/Sound Design: Allen Booth
Set Designer: Astrid Janson
Costume Design: Charlotte Dean
Lighting Design: Bonnie Beacher
Stage Manager: Naomi Campbell
Assistant Set Designer: Vikki Anderson
Assistant to the Director: Judy McKinley

Billie: Alison Sealy-Smith
Othello: Nigel Shawn Williams
Magi: Barbara Barnes Hopkins
Amah/Mona: Dawn Roach
Canada: Jeff Jones
Double Bass: Sharon Massey [Onstage Musician]
Cello: Lisa Tobias [onstage musician]
1997 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play (Djanet Sears)
1997 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Direction (Djanet Sears)
1997 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Female Performance (Alison Sealy-Smith)
1997 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Production (Nightwood Theatre)
1997 Phenomenal Woman of the Arts Award (Djanet Sears)
1998 Governor General's Award, for Drama (Djanet Sears)
1998 Floyd S. Chalmers Play Award, for Outstanding New Canadian Play (Djanet Sears)
Publishing and Multimedia
*Sears, Djanet. "The Madwoman and the Fool: A Harlem Duet." Beyond the Pale: Dramatic Writing from First Nations Writers and Writers of Colour. Ed. Yvette Nolan, Betty Quan, George Bwanika Seremba. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 1996. 144-149.
*Sears, Djanet. Harlem Duet. 1996. Toronto: Scirocco Drama, 1997.
*Sears, Djanet. "Harlem Duet." Adaptations of Shakespeare: A Critical Anthology of Plays From the Seventeenth Century to the Present. Eds. Daniel Fischlin and Mark Fortier. London: Routledge, 2000. 281-313.
*Sears, Djanet. Harlem Duet. Testifyin': Contemporary African Canadian Drama. Vol. 1. Ed. Djanet Sears. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2000. 560-632.
*Sears, Djanet. "Background Book". The Stratford Festival, 2006.
*Sears, Djanet. "Notes of a coloured girl: 32 short reasons why I write for the theatre." Harlem Duet Stratford Program, 2006. 1-5.
*Online Program for Harlem Duet, Stratford Festival 2006.
*Program for Harlem Duet. October 27-November 29, 1997.
Secondary Materials
*Al-Solaylee, Kamal. "Baring the Burden of Race." Rev. of Harlem Duet by Djanet Sears. The Globe and Mail 3 July 2006.
*Burnett, Linda. "'Redescribing a World:' Towards a Theory of Shakespearean Adaptation in Canada." Canadian Theatre Review 111 (Summer 2002): 5-9.
*Bruckner, J.R. Dr. "A Tortured Duet with History" Rev. of Harlem Duet by: Djanet Sears. New York Times 21. November 2002.
*Chapman, Geoff. "A brittle exploration of race and gender." Toronto Star 2 Nov. 1997: C6.
*Clarke, George Elliott. "Treason of the black intellectuals?" 15 Apr. 2002.
*Coulbourn, John. "Harlem rendered in vivid color." Toronto Sun 26 Apr. 1997.
*Del Col, Anna Maria. "Rewriting/Receiving Shakespeare's Othello in Canada: Preface to a Reception History." Unpublished paper. Guelph: CASP archives, 2 May 2002.
*Dickinson, Peter. "Duets, Duologues, and Black Diasporic Theatre: Djanet Sears, William Shakespeare, and Others." Modern Drama 45.2 (Summer 2002),188-208.
*Fischlin, Daniel. "Nation and/as Adaptation: Shakespeare, Canada, Authenticity." Shakespeare in Canada: 'a world elsewhere'?. Eds. Diana Brydon and Irena Makaryk. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2002. 313-338.
*Friedlander, Mira. Rev. of Harlem Duet, by Djanet Sears. Variety 5-11 May 1997.
*Hoile, Christopher. "A Landmark Production at Stratford." Rev. of Harlem Duet by Djanet Sears. Stage Door Reviews 2006.
*Hood, Sarah. "Harlem Hits Stratford: Djanet Sear's Canadian Classic Makes History." WORD Magazine June 2006.
*Jacob, Bianca T. "Duet a must see." Share 1 May 1997.
*Kaplan, Jon. "Alison Sealy-Smith Bursts Bard's Bubble." Now 24-30 Apr. 1997: 39.
*Kaplan, Jon. Rev. of Harlem Duet and Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet). plays INTERNATIONAL.
*Kaplan, Jon and Jill Lawless. "Unruly Harlem Duet a rare achievement." Now 1-7 May 1997.
*Kaplan, Jon and Prasad Bidaye. "Hot Harlem Duet sees new light." Now 30 Oct.-5 Nov. 1997.
*Kaplan, Jon. "A Riveting Duet: Djanet Sears' Harlem Duet Makes History- and Great Theatre." Rev. of Harlem Duet by Djanet Sears. Now 31 Aug.-6 Sept. 2006.
*Kidnie, Margaret Jane. "'There's magic in the web of it': Seeing Beyond Tragedy in Harlem Duet." Journal of Commonwealth Literature vol. 36, no. 92 (2001): 29-44.
*Kiyoshk, Ramona A. "Revisiting Othello." The Word Apr. 1997: 12.
*Knowles, Ric. "Othello in Three Times." Shakespeare in Canada: A World Elsewhere? Ed. Diana Brydon, Irena R. Makaryk. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002. 371-395.
*Knowles, Ric, Djanet Sears and Alison Sealy-Smith. "The Nike Method." Canadian Theatre Review 97 (Winter 1998): 24-30.
*Lawless, Jill. "Unruly Harlem Duet a Rare Achievement." Rev. of Harlem Duet by Djanet Sears. NOW. 1-7 May 1997.
*Lingerfelt, Jim and Roger Kershaw. "Harlem's Two Solitudes." Stage Door. April 1997.
*MacDonald, Joyce Green. "Finding Othello's African Roots through Djanet Sears's Harlem Duet. Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare's Othello. Ed. Peter Erikson and Maurice Hunt. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2005. 202-208.
*McKinnon, James. "Towards a Dramaturgy of Appropriation: The Re-Vision of Shakespeare in Two Canadian Plays." Diss. U of Alberta, 2002.
*Moore, Don. "Exorcising Shakespeare: Djanet Sears's Harlem Duet." Unpublished research paper. University of Guelph. 18 Apr. 2002.
*Moore, Don. "Specters of Nationhood: Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare by Two Diasporic Writers." Unpublished research paper. University of Guelph. 2002.
*Morrow, Martin. "Harlem Shuffle: Djanet Sears challenges Stratford's status quo." CBC Arts 23 June 2006.
*Murray, Matthew. Rev. of Harlem Duet by Djanet Sears. Off Broadway. 17 Nov. 2002.
*Nurse, Donna Bailey. "An Othello built for the nineties." Globe and Mail 18 Nov. 1997: C5.
*Nurse, Donna Bailey. "Black in Print." The Globe and Mail 21 Feb. 2004: D15.
*Ouzounian, Richard. "Playwright takes N.Y. by storm." Toronto Star 24 Nov. 2002: D2.
*Sanders, Leslie. "Othello Deconstructed: Djanet Sears' Harlem Duet." Testifyin': Contemporary African Canadian Drama. Vol. 1. Ed. Djanet Sears. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2000. 557-559.
*Taylor, Kate. "Fix the colour code in Canadian theatre." The Globe and Mail 6 Dec. 2003: R2.
*Thieme, John. "A Different 'Othello Music': Djanet Sears's Harlem Duet." Performing National Identities: International Perspectives on Contemporary Canadian Theatre. Ed. Sherill Grace, Albert-Reiner Glaap. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2003. 81-91.
*Tiedemann, Heidi. "A Rage in Harlem." Rev. of Harlem Duet by Djanet Sears. Varsity Review, 6 Nov. 1997.
*Tekinay, Asli. "Othello Rewritten: Paula Vogel's Desdemona: a Play about a Handkerchief and Djanet Sears' Harlem Duet." Tribute to Professor Oya Basak. Ed. Asli Tekinay. 2005. 413-18.
*Verge, Stephanie. "Harlem Renaissance: A GG award-winning Toronto playwright makes Othello her own." Rev. of Harlem Duet by Djanet Sears. Toronto Life August 2006.
*Wagner, Vit. "Theatre as it should be." Toronto Star 27 Apr. 1997.
*Wagner, Vit. [on Harlem Duet and other Dora winners.] Toronto Star 30 Sept. 1997: E5.
*Waisvisz, Sarah. "This is the only witchcraft I have used: Harlem Duet as a Feminist Adaptation of Othello." Unpublished. 2006.
*Winsor, Christopher. "Doin' the Harlem Shuffle." Rev. of Harlem Duet by Djanet Sears. Eye Weekly 13 Nov. 1997.
Adaptor 1 Biography
"Ontario-based playwright, director and actor born in London, England. Her family moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan when Ms. Sears was 15.
"She came to national and international attention with her work Afrika Solo (Factory Theatre, 1987, Great Canadian Theatre Company, 1989, subsequently produced for CBC Radio, 1990, published by Sister Vision Press), which won the International Armstrong Award for Outstanding Radio Play (1991) and Silver Prize at the International Radio Festival of New York.
"More recently, her Harlem Duet, 1998 (Sirocco Press), was the winner of the Dora Mavor Moore, Chalmers' and Governor General's Awards (and was revived, April 2000, at Neptune Theatre).
"She has also won a Harry Jerome Award and a Phenomenal Woman of the Arts Award.
"Other plays include: The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God, premiered at the duMaurier Theatre, Toronto, 2002, directed by the author; Who Killed Katie Ross (as part of Stolen Lands), Ground Zero Productions, 1995, directed by Steven Bush and Monique Mojica; The Mother Project (with Sangoma, The Women's Co.), Crossroads Theatre, New Brunswick, 1991, Sydne Mahome); Double Trouble, Toronto Workshop Productions, 1988, Pierre Tetrault." (14 Nov. 2003. qtd. from
Adaptor 1 Bibliography
*Breon, Robin. "Interview with Djanet Sears: A Black Girl in Search of God." Aisle Say (Toronto). n.d.
*Kaplan, Jon. "AfriCanadian Consolidate." Now 13-19 April 2000.
*Nicholls, Sandra. "Djanet Sears." The Canadian Encyclopedia.
*Petropoulos, Jacqueline. "Performing African Canadian Identity: diasporic reinvention in Afrika Solo." Feminist Review 84 (2006): 104-123.
*"Djanet Sears." VG: Voices from the Gaps, Women Artists and Writers of Colour. 17 May 2007.
*"Djanet Sears." Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia. 14 Nov. 2002.
"A rhapsodic blues tragedy...Harlem Duet is the prelude to Shakespeare's Othello, and recounts the tale of Othello and his first wife Billie (yes, before Desdemona). Set in contemporary Harlem at the corner of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X boulevards, the play explores the space where race and sex intersect. Malcolm X once suggested that Martin Luther King's 'dream' would turn into a nightmare before it was over. Harlem Duet examines both the dream and the nightmare. Harlem Duet is Billie's story" (qtd. from the back cover of Sears Harlem Duet 1997).
Harlem Duet was first presented in public readings at the Nightwood Theatre (Toronto) in 1995, and at the Joseph Papp
Public Theatre in NYC in 1996.
(11 May 2007 from
Adaptation of
Entry Last Updated 5Jun07 10:16AM


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