Adrienne Kennedy is an African-American playwright and was a key figure in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. She is best known for her first major play Funnyhouse of a Negro. Many of Kennedy's plays explore issues of race, kinship, and violence in American society, and many of her works are "autobiographically inspired." In 1995, critic Michael Feingold of the Village Voice declared that "with Beckett gone, Adrienne Kennedy is probably the boldest artist now writing for the theater."
Kennedy is noted for the use of surrealism in her plays. Her plays are often plotless and symbolic, drawing on mythical, historical and imaginary figures to depict and explore the American experience. New York Times critic Clive Barnes noted that "While almost every black playwright in the country is fundamentally concerned with realismâ€”LeRoi Jones and Ed Bullins at times have something different going but even their symbolism is straightforward stuffâ€”Miss Kennedy is weaving some kind of dramatic fabric of poetry."