Eden (Steve Carter play)

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Written bySteve Carter
Date premieredMarch 3, 1976
Place premieredSt. Mark's Playhouse
New York City
Original languageEnglish
SeriesThe Caribbean Trilogy:
Nevis Mountain Dew
Dame Lorraine
SubjectA recent Caribbean immigrant discovers that his daughter has fallen in love with an uneducated African-American man from the rural South.
Setting1920s; San Juan Hill section of New York City

Eden is a 1976 play by American playwright Steve Carter. Set in the 1920s, it is the first of Carter's Caribbean trilogy. Eden explores intra-racial conflicts between recent immigrants from the Caribbean and the African-American population.[1] The West Coast premiere of this critically acclaimed play received five Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards.[2]


Joseph Barton
The main character of the play. A recent Caribbean immigrant to the United States and follower of Marcus Garvey.
Annetta Barton
Joseph's daughter. She falls in love with Eustace Baylor, an African-American from the South, which causes the central conflict within the story.
Eustace Baylor
An African American from the rural South than falls in love with Annette.
Solomon Barton
One of Joseph's sons.
Nimrod Barton
One of Joseph's sons.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Set in the San Juan Hill section of New York City in 1927, Joseph Barton, a recent Caribbean immigrant and follower of Marcus Garvey discovers to his horror that his daughter is keeping company with an uneducated African American man from the rural South.

Origins of the play[edit]

Eden is loosely based on the story of the playwright's parents. Horace Carter, Sr., a native of Virginia, and his wife, Carmen, who was born in New York of Caribbean descent, lived in New York City at the time of their son's birth.[3][4]

Original off-Broadway production[edit]



  • James Warden, Jr. - Solomon Barton,

Los Angeles production (West Coast premiere)[edit]

  • Directed by Edmund Cambridge
  • Produced by Los Angeles Actors Theatre
  • Opened: December 2002 at Los Angeles Actors Theatre[1][2][6]


Feature film project[edit]

In 1985, Carter wrote the screenplay A Time Called Eden, based on his play. It was set to go into production the following year, however, to date, the project remains unproduced.[4][7]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  • 1976 Outer Critics Circle Award
  • 1976 Audelco Award
  • 1980 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award - Direction (Edmund Cambridge)[2]
  • 1980 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award - Lead Performance (Carl Lumbly)[2]
  • 1980 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award - Playwrighting (steve carter)[2]
  • 1980 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award - Production (Los Angeles Theatre Center)[2]
  • 1980 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award - Supporting Performance (Marilyn Coleman)[2]


In 2008, Barbara Montgomery from the original cast, staged a reading of Eden with the Negro Ensemble Company as part of The NEC Classic Playreading Series.[8]


  1. ^ a b Christon, Lawrence (1980-11-30). "Stage News: BLACK VS. BLACK IN 'EDEN'". Los Angeles Times. p. R63. Retrieved 2009-12-06. Even during the best of not-so-recent times for black theater, plays tended to focus on black characters in a white world and didn't as a rule deal with prejudices among blacks themselves. But "Eden", a play by Steve Carter which will have its West Coast premiere at the Los Angeles Actors Theater.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "1980-1989 Awards". United States: Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards. Archived from the original on February 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
  3. ^ "Fifteenth Census of the United States (1930) [database on-line], New York (Manhattan Burrough) (Ward 7), New York County, New York, Enumeration District: 31-383, Page: 19A, Line: 48-50, household of Horace Carter". United States: The Generations Network. 1930-04-30. Retrieved 2009-11-26.
  4. ^ a b Arkatov, Janice (1989-06-02). "Steve Carter's `Eden': Intimate Portrait of Family Racism". Los Angeles Times. p. Calendar 6. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
  5. ^ "Eden". New York: Lortel Archives: The Internet Off-Broadway Database. Archived from the original on 2010-04-15. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  6. ^ Sullivan, Dan (2002-12-10). "'eden' focuses on west indian family". Los Angeles Times. p. 16, Part VI. Retrieved 2009-12-06. Given the choice between the play that never warms up and the play that keeps boiling over, I'll take the latter. Particularly when it's as well-acted as Steve Carter's "Eden" at the Los Angeles Actors Theater.
  7. ^ Carter, Steve (1986). Plays by Steve Carter (First ed.). New York: Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. p. v. ISBN 0-88145-043-X.
  8. ^ "The NEC Classic Playreading Series". New York: Negro Ensemble Company. Archived from the original on March 30, 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-25.

External links[edit]