( 1942- )
Robbie McCauley, born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1942, spent most of her childhood in Columbus, Georgia, and Washington, D.C. She became involved with experimental and black theatre after moving to New York in the mid-1960s. As an actress, she has performed in Ed Bullins The Taking of Miss Janie, Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls . . . and Adrienne Kennedy A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White and Cities in Bezique. She studied playwriting at the Playwrights' Workshop of the Negro Ensemble Company in New York.
McCauley and Ed Montgomery met in 1979 and they formed the Sedition Ensemble which performed political jazz works, a melange of improvised text and music. She and Montgomery were married, and although he continues to write music for some of McCauley's productions, their working relationship changed. She began an association with Laurie Carlos and Jessica Hagedorn, which collaborated under the name Thought Music. McCauley also began her "personal biographical work," in which she explores her personal past within the larger historical context.
McCauley continues to write and perform her own work and is expanding her career as a director. Her most recent directing project was the 1996 Signature Theatre production of Adrienne Kennedy The Alexander Plays.
Although Robbie McCauley's work has metamorphosed into various forms and shapes throughout her almost twenty-year playwriting career, "the issues are the same: Bearing witness to racism" ( Patraka, 44). Despite the diversity, the works can be characterized by McCauley's interest in poetry, music, and