Play Date

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Harlem Duet

Djanet Sears

January 20th, 2022


Djanet Sears is an acclaimed African-Canadian playwright, actor and director. Djanet Sears was born in 1959 in England. In 1974 she moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and then settled in Oakville, Ontario in 1975. Sears wrote Afrika Solo in 1987, the first stage play to be written by a African-Canadian woman. She then went onto write Harlem Duet and The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God. Race and gender are central themes in her works, as well as inclusion of music and traditions from West-Africa. She is passionate about “the preservation of Black theatre history,” and was a creator of Obsidian Theatre and AfriCanadian Playwrights Festival.


Harlem Duet is a play by Djanet Sears. Harlem Duet was written in 1997. In the play, Billie a grad student from Harlem, finds out that her husband, Othello, is leaving her for a white woman, Mona. The play moves through different periods in time; a Southern cotton plantation in 1860, Harlem in 1928 and Present time, and explores racial tensions through the relationship between Othello and Billie. Djanet Sears received the Governor General’s Award for Best New Play and the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award for Harlem Duet.

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