Thanks so much for visiting Stage Voices for the latest in Theatre news and writing. Currently, we are privileged to be offering a free chapter from playwright JoAnne Brasil’s first novel--in a series of four--called Big Mamma’s #1 with Coleslaw, To Go.
The revised and expanded edition is set in Phoebus, a small military town in southeastern Virginia and told by the narrator and protagonist Cecelia O’Malley. As the inside cover of the original novel puts it, “Raised by the Irish immigrant owners of Billy’s Bar-B-Que . . . Cecyl escapes after high school graduation and moves to Boston where she supports herself by working as a janitor. Ill-prepared for the larger world of late 1960’s America . . . Cecyl is usually caught off-guard, but she always rebounds with a tenacity and love that draw us to her spirit.”
Originally titled Escape from Billy’s Bar-b-que--the book went into a second printing--Alice Walker (author of the Pulitzer winner, The Color Purple)--who published the work through her Wild Trees Press in 1985—has written “To those who have wanted to dismantle racial pigeonholes and leap over social barriers in a single bound, this book will offer special insight and encouragement.”
Additional praise includes:
“This is a novel written the way people talk. That leads us into the way people feel, and we are rewarded with one woman’s story and a valuable reminder that hearts and times do change—and for the better.”--Gloria Steinem
“This fragile novel packs a surprising wallop you’ll feel for a long time afterward.”--Patricia Holt, the San Francisco Chronicle
“Brasil has written a brilliant story about the way people talk, the way they feel and, as Cecyl puts it, the way they should ‘treat each other normal’.”--Publishers Weekly
“Cecyl is funny and sad, brave and devastatingly honest. JoAnne Brasil is uncompromising and true. So is her brave heroine.”--Dorothy Bryant (self-published Berkeley literary icon)
“Off-beat Characters on the Mark. . . . Brasil’s story is both hopeful and convincing, and given the size of the social walls Cecyl runs into this is no small accomplishment . . . perceptive and well-written. . . . ”--Daily Californian (UC Berkeley paper)
JoAnne Brasil is a writer living in Salem, MA. She’s worked as a news reporter for the Brattleboro Reformer in Brattleboro, VT, was a letter-writer for Smithsonian, wrote an astrology column for Poets & Writers magazine, and was the host of a Sunday morning radio program for WBUR Public Radio in Boston. She has written numerous plays, scripts and short stories, and is now in the process of completing the third in the Escape from Billy’s Bar-B-Que novels.
Copyright 2013, JoAnne Brasil. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
For rights inquiries contact: Bobjshuman@gmail.com
Visit JoAnne Brasil’s Web site: http://www.joannebrasil.org/
JoAnne Brasil at Hildegard's Wander Theater: http://wandertheater.org/index.htm
Photos: Top of page, German production of The Wander Theater: JoAnne Brasil (r) and actor Andrea Rump (l) at the Project Theater (it was part of the Dresden Yiddish Theater and Music Week). Above, American production: JoAnne Brasil (r) and Georgette Beck (l) in front of the Griffen Theater in Salem, MA. Photos courtesy of JoAnne Brasil.