She Talks to Beethoven

by  Adrienne Kennedy

Short Play, Drama  /  1m, 1f

After the sudden and mysterious disappearance of Suzanne Alexander's husband, she seeks solace in the spirit of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven, whose letters she has been studying.

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She Talks to Beethoven

by  Adrienne Kennedy

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    1m, 1f
  • Duration


    30 minutes
  • SubGenre


  • Accolades


    From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

She Talks to Beethoven, written by pioneering avant-garde playwright Adrienne Kennedy in 1989, offers a layered discourse on politics, revolution and loss. Set in Ghana, Suzanne waits in her room listening to radio broadcasts about her husband who has mysteriously disappeared while she attempts to write about and communicate with composer Ludwig van Beethoven.  Her world is infiltrated by snatches of Ghanaian string music, the revolutionary words of Frantz Fanon and strains of Beethoven's Fidelio. Suzanne, recovering from an unspecified illness hovers in displaced time and space fluctuating between Vienna, Austria, in 1803, and Accra, Ghana, in 1961.
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"To many, Ms. Kennedy has blended the surreal and the social to invent a new dramatic form." - The New York Times

[Kennedy creates] “hauntingly fragmentary lyrical dramas [that powerfully explore] the violence racism visits on people’s lives.” - Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Intense Adult Intense Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: £30 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

    This title is currently restricted. Please submit a license request to determine availability.



  • Time Period: 1960s, 18th Century
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Setting: Accra, Ghana, in 1961, soon after independence.
  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


1m, 1f

The music in the piece should equal in length with the text. Anonymous diary entries are from actual sources.
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Cast Attributes

  • Multicultural casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)




Adrienne Kennedy

Adrienne Kennedy continues to influence the world through her art. She was the recipient of the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, an Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement Award, the Lila Wallace—Reader's Digest Writers' Award and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in Literature Aw ...

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First produced by River Arts in Woodstock, New York, and directed by Clinton Turner Davis in June 1989.

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