Generating a new understanding of the past–as well as a vision for the future–this path-breaking volume contains essays written by playwrights, scholars, and critics that analyze African American theatre as it is practiced today. Even as they acknowledge that Black experience is not monolithic, these contributors argue provocatively and persuasively for a Black consciousness that creates a culturally specific theatre. This theatre, rooted in an African mythos, offers ritual rather than realism; it transcends the specifics of social relations, reaching toward revelation. The ritual performance that is intrinsic to Black theatre renews the community; in Paul Carter Harrison’s words, it “reveals the Form of Things Unknown” in a way that “binds, cleanses, and heals.” Author note: Paul Carter Harrison is playwright in residence at the Theatre Center, Columbia College, Chicago. He is the author of several books including, The Drama of Nommo and the editor of several play anthologies. His play, The Great MacDaddy, received an Obie Award for playwriting. Victor Leo Walker is Chief Executive Officer of the African Grove Institute for the Arts, Inc. and the author of The Cultural MatriX: Los Angeles Inner City Cultural Center, 1965 to 1998 (forthcoming). Gus Edwards teaches Film Studies and directs a multi-ethnic theatre program at Arizona State University. He has published two volumes of monologues from his plays including The Offering, Black Body Blues, and Louie & Ophelia. He is coeditor with Paul Carter Harrison of the anthology, Classic Plays from the Negro Ensemble Company.