GOLDEN TONGUES: Florence and Normandie
June Carryl’s Florence and Normandie adapts Calderón’s Amar después de la muerte (To Love Beyond Death). Set in Los Angeles in the early 1990s, as tensions boil and the threat of violence looms, two families entwined by both location and love find themselves living the American racial nightmare.
Koreatown, Los Angeles, 1991–1992. At Jeong’s Market, first-generation Korean American Sydney Jeong and Toony Berry, a young Black man, develop a flirtatious rapport while stocking the shelves. Sydney’s parents, owners of the shop, do not approve. A few blocks away, Toony’s sister, Iz, is growing impatient with the willful ignorance of her white boyfriend, Danny, on matters of race. Adapting Calderón’s Amar después de la muerte, which chronicles love and death in the context of a late 16th-century Morisco uprising, June Carryl’s Florence and Normandie dramatizes the racial tension and violence of late twentieth-century Los Angeles. Flashpoints of racial inequity multiply: the Rodney King videotape is released; Korean storeowner murders Latasha Harlins, a Black teenager; the officers walk free and Harlins’s killer is given a $500 fine. As the unrest in the city after the verdict engulfs Koreatown in flames, the families of Jeong, Toony, and Iz, entwined by both love and location, find themselves living the American racial nightmare. In this story of young Americans navigating life and relationships against the backdrop of radical inequity and racial trauma, Carryl presents a compelling drama of bonds forged only to be destroyed by violence, prejudice, and ignorance. While recreating the detail and atmosphere of early 1990s Los Angeles, Florence and Normandie portrays the ongoing horror of state-sanctioned cultural supremacy that extends from the religious persecution of early modern Spain to struggles for racial justice in the American present.
Florence and Normandie will be a staged reading in English.
This staged reading is part of Golden Tongues, a collaboration between Diversifying the Classics and Playwrights’ Arena. Since 2013, the Golden Tongues initiative has commissioned and staged new adaptations in English of Hispanic classical plays by Los Angeles playwrights. Learn more about the Golden Tongues series here.