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Mr. Tetenbaum’s Classroom Edit display name

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Students in my class have engaged with a diversity of texts from all over the world this year, but have not yet engaged with any contemporary works of literature. Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks is a thrilling way to change that. As the play that topped the New York Times's recent list of the "25 Best American Plays Since ‘Angels in America’," "Topdog" will expand students' understanding of what literature can be while encouraging them to draw connections to the other works this year that deal with family strife, economics, racism and American history. The play, which features two brothers—Lincoln and Booth—struggling to make ends meet while dealing with the fallout of their absent parents, their dead-end jobs, and their troublesome relationships to women, blends the absurd and the realist, the comedic with the tragic, and the hyper-specific with the universal. It will serve as a capstone to a larger unit on theater—including the works of Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, and Wole Soyinka—and the larger arc of the year—which began with James Baldwin, Parks's teacher.

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Students in my class have engaged with a diversity of texts from all over the world this year, but have not yet engaged with any contemporary works of literature. Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks is a thrilling way to change that. As the play that topped the New York Times's recent list of the "25 Best American Plays Since ‘Angels in America’," "Topdog" will expand students' understanding of what literature can be while encouraging them to draw connections to the other works this year that deal with family strife, economics, racism and American history. The play, which features two brothers—Lincoln and Booth—struggling to make ends meet while dealing with the fallout of their absent parents, their dead-end jobs, and their troublesome relationships to women, blends the absurd and the realist, the comedic with the tragic, and the hyper-specific with the universal. It will serve as a capstone to a larger unit on theater—including the works of Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, and Wole Soyinka—and the larger arc of the year—which began with James Baldwin, Parks's teacher.

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