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Charles Fuller, Pulitzer Winner for ‘A Soldier’s Play,’ Dies at 83 – The New York Times

“What the evening proves,” Ernest Albrecht wrote in a review in The Home News of New Brunswick, N.J., “is that the theater is not Fuller’s bag.”

But Mr. Fuller kept at it. In the 1970s he relocated to New York, where the Negro Ensemble Company in 1974 staged his drama “In the Deepest Part of Sleep” and opened its 10th-anniversary season in 1976 with another of his plays, “The Brownsville Raid,” based on a 1906 incident in Texas in which Black soldiers were accused of a shooting. Walter Kerr, writing in The Times, praised Mr. Fuller for not making the play a simple story of racial injustice.

“Mr. Fuller is interested in human slipperiness, and his skill with self‐serving, only slightly shady evasions of duty helps turn the play into the interesting conundrum it is,” Mr. Kerr wrote.

Although he set out as a playwright to examine difficult questions, Mr. Fuller did so with a certain degree of optimism about the future of the United States.

“America has an opportunity, with all its technology, to develop the first sensible society in history,” he said in the 1977 interview with The Inquirer. “It could provide all its people with some rational way to live together while still glorying in their cultural diversity.”

By the late 1980s, though, he had tired of New York and moved to Toronto, where he was living at his death. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, David; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

“A Soldier’s Play” was finally produced on Broadway in 2020 by the Roundabout Theater with a cast that included Mr. Grier and Blair Underwood. It was eligible to win the best-revival Tony even though it had never been produced on Broadway previously — the more familiar prerequisite for the category — because, under Tony rules, it was by 2020 considered “a classic.” Mr. Grier himself won a Tony for best actor in a featured role in a play.

“It has been my greatest honor to perform his words on both stage and screen,” Mr. Grier said of Mr. Fuller on Twitter, adding that “his genius will be missed.”

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