Mark Clayton Southers Premieres ‘The Coffin Maker’ at Pittsburgh Public Theater (5/29/24)

The Coffin Maker by Mark Clayton Southers. Pittsburgh Public Theater, May 29 – June 16.

One of the more (if not most) prolific playwrights of which Pittsburgh can boast is Mark Clayton Southers who is also (appropriately enough) Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre. Southers has written more than twenty plays in the last twenty-five years, and of these are (now) six plays that concern the Black experience in 19th century America. The latest installment in his series, The Coffin Maker, will premiere at Pittsburgh Public Theater on May 29, and from all indications, this revenge drama promises to be his best yet. The Coffin Maker is a character named Lawrence Ebitts who, with his wife Eula, have found a steady, although unsettling life in Oklahoma. The year is 1849 and, among other hardships of survival, Ebitts has found income by burying the dead. This he does with reverence, grace and respect. But, while death in this antebellum world is sadly common, what’s not to be expected is the arrival of a bounty hunter dead-set on collecting his prize. If there is confusion about mistaken identities, then, sure to follow will be life-shattering revelations all the more harrowing than the specter of imminent death. Be well prepared for this “genre-defying world premiere” at the O’Reilly Theater. 8 p.m. 621 Penn Ave., Cultural District.

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