Several years before she won the Pulitzer Prize for “Topdog/Underdog,” Suzan-Lori Parks wrote a pair of plays seeking to riff on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlett Letter.” The more successful is “In the Blood,” which gets a spirited and stirring revival at Off-Broadway’s Signature Theatre complex — where its Brechtian counterpart, “F—ing A,” is playing just across the hall.

For “In the Blood,” Parks reimagines Hester Prynne as an inner-city woman struggling to make ends meet as she raises her five children, each the product of a different, long-gone father.

As played by the remarkable Saycon Sengbloh (“Scandal,” “Eclipsed”), this Hester is a “welfare queen” striver who recognizes her own role in her predicament (“My life’s my own fault, I know that”) but maintains a compelling optimism despite the many odds stacked against her — from illiteracy to economic deprivation to societal rejection in many forms. Read the full review on TheWrap.

 

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