Live Rich Die Poor, A Zora Neale Hurston One Woman Play
In 1973 famed writer Alice Walker discovers Zora Neale Hurston’s unmarked grave in a quest to honor Hurston, and proclaim the late writer’s genius. But, what if during Alice’s search for the unmarked grave and her desire to breathe life into Zora’s work, she accidentally awakens Zora only to learn that Zora, in the complex layers of death and all of the places her spirit has been, no longer remembers the prolific, rich life she lead and thus cannot understand her impact? And has Alice awakened the right spirit? This is the premise of Live Rich Die Poor. Based on the life of Zora Neale Hurston, the brilliant writer from the Harlem Renaissance who gave us her seminal work Their Eyes Were Watching God comes a new look at her colorful life-through the lens of living rich and dying poor (empty having used all of your gifts).
Actress and writer Ann Perry Wallace re-imagines scenes from Hurston’s life; from her happy days in Eatonville, the devastating loss of her mother, hints of the lost years of wandering that she never spoke of, to arriving in New York and becoming a fixture within art world of the Harlem Renaissance, becoming an academic, and even her falling out with her best friend Langston Hughes.
Sprinkled in this study of a woman who fought to live and use every single gift while she lived is a bit of wonder and magic. This show captures the vulnerable Zora we don’t often read about, and it asks us if we are living in a way in which we are emptying ourselves out and using all of our gifts. Strap in and put yourself in the hero’s shoes as she confronts her life choices and discovers who she is and the reach of her impact.