Runtime: 2h 00m
It was once observed that no dead woman had done more for the living than Henrietta Lacks. Lacks was a young black woman who died in 1951 in Baltimore from cervical cancer, leaving a husband and five children. But she lives on in the work of research scientists because cells were cultured from a piece of tissue that was removed from her body. Much of the most important medical research of the last 70 years, from HIV to COVID, owes a debt to Henrietta Lacks. But she never gave consent for cells to be used, and for decades she was erased from history. Winner of the 2021 Alfred Fagon Award, Mojisola Adebayo’s play takes Lacks’ story as its inspiration as it explores race, health, and legacy.
Family Tree is a beautifully poetic drama about race, health, the environment, and the incredible legacy of one of the most influential Black women of modern times. Fearlessly honest, hilarious, and ultimately transformative, this award-winning play is both a remembrance and a celebration. Henrietta Lacks is one of most remarkable people in medical history. Her cells form the basis of the most important medical research and breakthroughs happening today, from cancer to HIV to COVID. But Henrietta never knew any of this. Her cells were taken without her or her family’s knowledge or permission. Henrietta was a Black woman: she is not the only one whose body has been exploited by the medical establishment. Denied her place in history, now is the time for Henrietta’s incredible legacy to undergo a transformation … to blossom and grow into something new and wonderful. Age Recommendation: 14+