December 6, 2019

Author, actress Perri Gaffney performs excerpt from one-person play

“So many people tell me, ‘This was my grandmother,’ ‘This was my godmother,’ ‘Was this the story of my…’” Gaffney said, before trailing off.

Actress and author Perri Gaffney came to Webster on Monday, Nov. 4 to present her book and play, “The Resurrection of Alice.” Gaffney currently appears in “The Lifespan of a Fact” at the St. Louis Repertory Theatre. 

At the event, Gaffney performed a 20 minute excerpt from “The Resurrection of Alice,” which usually runs 90 minutes. She played all the characters.

Set in rural South Carolina in 1948, “The Resurrection of Alice” tells the story of Alice, a young black girl who looks forward to graduating from high school, a family first. However, as she begins considering college, she discovers a secret plan her family made to marry her off to the lonely family benefactor, Mr. Tucker, who has been eyeing Alice since she was 7 years old.

Perri Gaffney, author of,”The Resurrection of Alice,” performs a 20-minute excerpt from her book on Nov. 4.

Gaffney said she drew inspiration from true stories to write the novel. She said many of her readers have told her Alice reminds them of women they know in real life.

“So many people tell me, ‘This was my grandmother,’ ‘This was my godmother,’ ‘Was this the story of my…’” Gaffney said, before trailing off.

The story is one far too many people know, Gaffney said.

Gaffney said even though the stories that inspired the character of Alice took place in the past, arranged marriage with children is a reality young girls face today across the world.

While the play is told from the perspective of Alice, Gaffney portrayed dialogue from all the characters, including Mr. Tucker, Alice’s arranged groom.

According to Gaffney, Mr. Tucker represents financially comfortable men who are usually pillars of communities. In “The Resurrection of Alice,” Mr. Tucker pays for Alice’s schooling.

St. Louis Black Repertory Company acting interns Brian McKinley, Travis Banks and D’Angelo Himes, who saw Gaffney in “The Lifespan of a Fact,” came to watch the short performance of “The Resurrection of Alice.”

Travis Banks, who said he has never performed solo, said Gaffney’s one-woman production impressed him.

“There are subtle things you have to do to make each character distinct—so you don’t have to explain who they are every time—and Perri captured each of those characters really well,” Banks said.

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