Unfinished Women Cry In No Man's Land While A Bird Dies In A Gilded Cage (Paperback)
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UNFINISHED WOMEN deals with the events in a home for unwed mothers on the last day of jazz musician Charlie Parker's life, March 12, 1955. The play digs beyond statistics and sociological theories to find the unarticulated, half-understood longings of teenage mothers. "UNFINISHED WOMEN is an underground classic. It reaches beyond statistics and sociological theories to find the unarticulated, half-understood longings of teen-age mothers ... The title implies the central conceit of the play: the juxtaposition of the Hide-A-Wee Home for Unwed Mothers (the unfinished women) and Pasha's boudoir, where Charlie Parker (the 'Bird'), the brilliant black saxophonist of years past, spent his last days. Many types of girls find themselves in this home: the child of middle-class upbringing who got 'caught'; the innocent who was raped; the savvy, street-smart girl who let the music make love to her, as well as the strict nurse who turned her illegitimate child into a 'niece.' Charlie Chan, that stereotype of Oriental inscrutability, presides over all, a comment on the power of images in our society. The play focuses on that moment when the girls must decide whether to keep their babies or to give them up for adoption. Despite their fantasies of rescue by 'caring' young fathers, they must decide alone. Meanwhile, Bird slowly dies in the plush boudoir of his longtime mistress, trapped in a narcotic fog and the lost dreams of his exploited talent." -From Margaret B Wilkerson's introduction to the play in 9 Plays by Black Women.