Come Down Burning


Kia Corthron

Published by Dramatists Play Service

0 Male 3 Female

Skoolie lives in a clean, tiny shack at the top of the big hill, across from the small grocer. She doesn't have the use of her legs and uses a cart built close to the ground to get to the store, and around the house where her appliances are cut close to the floor

Her sister, Tee, is living with her, again, with her three small children. Though Tee is welcome, it is a hardship to support everyone on Skoolie's income from plaiting hair and occasionally performing abortions

As time goes on, it grows increasingly difficult for Skoolie to handle the extra people; last time Tee came to live, two of her children died from lack of food

Tee is very simple in the way she looks at the world, sometimes too much so, which causes a familiar family antagonism between the women, a caring but at-odds view on how to better their lives

When Skoolie discovers that Tee is again pregnant, she tries to convince her to give up the baby. Tee loves her children and though at first does not want to think about it knows that she doesn't want to jeopardize the three living ones to possibly bury another

Bink, Skoolie's lifelong girlfriend, comes to visit and get her hair done. She also asks Skoolie to perform an abortion; she and her husband are not ready for children

She follows Skoolie's advice, does not eat, does as she's told and the abortion is clean. Tee tries harder to be in charge of her life and her children's lives

When she notices a mark on her daughter's arm, put there by a negligent teacher, she wants to confront the teacher herself, but Skoolie, knowing Tee's social skills are not good, confronts the teacher for her, winning a small victory for them all but making Tee feel more inadequate

Failing at taking care of her children, Tee tries to take care of her own abortion but tragically fails at that too. Skoolie comes home in the afternoon to find her sister dying. While she tries in vain to keep Tee from slipping away, Skoolie knows she must again bear the burden of taking on and taking care of a loving but sorrow-filled family

A poignant look at familial love and dependence among a group of strong, witty and loving women who don't let the impact of poverty and prejudice push them down

"Ms Corthron creates vivid characters and situationsin Ms. Corthron, the theater has a new playwright of promise" ~ NY Times

"Corthron's voice is assured and wise, spinning the homespun speech of these country women into something eloquent and beautiful. This is a voice I am eager to hear again" ~ NY Post

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