Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Heading to Hollywood

Playwright Katori Hall will direct the film version of her play, Hurt Village

Memphis-born playwright Katori Hall is probably best known for her award-winning and phenomenally successful 2009 play, The Mountaintop, but it’s her 2011 play, Hurt Village, that’s heading to Hollywood—with Hall as both screenwriter and director.

Indiewire is reporting that “Hall will make her feature film directorial debut with an adaptation of her own play, Hurt Village—the gritty drama about life and change in a Memphis housing project that made its world-premiere at Off-Broadway’s Signature Theatre Company, in 2011, and starred Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins, as well as Amari Cheatom, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Ron Cephas Jones, Saycon Sengbloh and others.” Hurt Village won the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, and Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Here’s the official play synopsis:

It’s the end of a long summer in Hurt Village, a housing project in Memphis, Tennessee. A government Hope Grant means relocation for many of the project’s residents, including Cookie, a 13-year-old aspiring rapper, along with her mother Crank and great-grandmother Big Mama. As the family prepares to move, Cookie’s father Buggy unexpectedly returns from a tour of duty in Iraq. Ravaged by the war, Buggy struggles to find a position in his disintegrating community, along with a place in his daughter’s wounded heart.

In its 2012 review, The New York Times called Hurt Village “a rousing, latter-day response to [Lorraine] Hansberry’s watershed drama of 1959, ‘A Raisin in the Sun.’ Like that play, Ms. Hall’s latest offering is centered on an African-American family, ruled by an elderly woman of will, preparing to leave a shabby, claustrophobic apartment for a newer, brighter home. And like the Younger family of ‘Raisin,’ Ms. Hall’s clan is going to encounter plenty of obstacles before it can make that move.”

Filming for Hurt Village is tentatively planned for summer 2015.