The Kentucky Cycleby Robert Schenkkan
A sweeping epic of three families in eastern Kentucky that spans two hundred years of American history, awarded the Pulitzer Prize, now reissued for a new audience.
One of the most important works of political theater of its time, The Kentucky Cycle was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for its incisive and dramatically epic investigation of the brutal birth of America. This mesmerizing saga of rural Kentucky is an unblinking look at the truth behind our American mythology that spans two centuries and seven generations. It is the story of three families whose lives are irrevocably intertwined. From the darker realities of our pioneer heritage to the bloody lessons of the Civil War, from the inspiring battles between Union coal miners and deal-making management to the harsh environmental legacy of strip mining, this fascinating work chronicles the lives of people who use any means possible to carve out a better place for themselves in an unpredictable world. The Kentucky Cycle is a compelling and unsentimental look at the men and women who founded this country and a powerful allegory for our current times of strife and unrest.
“Aspires to nothing less than the history of the U.S. . . . What makes the work so hauntingly memorable is a poetic impulse, not a prosaic one . . . The play strives for mythic power—and attains it.” —Time
“Serious drama with a dark center . . . an epic.” —New Yorker
“Riveting theater . . . [a] monumental work.” —Los Angeles Times
“From moonlight skirmishes between pioneers and Cherokee to daylight thievery by speculators and tame judges, from Civil War marauders to union-busting goon squads, from the last gasp of industrial fever to the fresh air of environmentalism—Robert Schenkkan’s The Kentucky Cycle aspires to nothing less than the history of the U.S., spanning two centuries in seven hours . . . What makes the work so hauntingly memorable is a poetic impulse, not a prosaic one . . . The plays strive for mythic power—and attain it.” —TIME
“Much like Dances with Wolves, [The Kentucky Cycle] takes a revisionist stance toward U.S. history, but does so with better writing, more grit and no pastoral nostalgia.” —USA Today
“There are nine plays in all—each written with the kind of impassioned economy which immediately evokes memories of Sophocles and Euripides, short, taut, bloody actions.” —TheaterWeek
“As vast and bold as the emerging nation itself.” —Variety