THE2000 African American Theatre
THE2000 African American Theatre THE2000
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Anna Cappelli on Tuesday July 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to THE2000 at University of Florida taught by Charlie Mitchell in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see Theatre Appreciation in Theatre, Humanities at University of Florida.
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Date Created: 07/12/16
THE2000 African American Theatre Minstrelsy (1840s -1900s & beyond) From the beginning, racial impersonation was big in US theatre. Until 20 C, blacks were banned from appearing on stage with whites People thought whites were a canvas- any race could be painted Minstrelsy (minstrel show) is only form of theatrical entertainment incented by Americans and reflection the corrupt racial politics created from slavery White actors would apply black makeup and portray “ugly black” stereotypes who longed for the “care-free” days of slavery Jump Jim Crow Thomas Dartmouth developed first popular known blackface minstrel character “Jim Crow” in 1830 & became father of minstrelsy Black Musicals In 1920s, all black musicals offered black performers a chance on Broadway Most famous – Shuffle Along w/ hits like “I’m Just Wild About Harry” (later became Harry S Truman’s presidential campaign song) Black Vaudeville (1910-1930s) Vaudeville is series of short, unrelated shows presented together. Due to segregation, black audience sat in balcony and there was usually only one black act allowed on the bill Eventually created TOBA (Theatre Owners Booking Association)- vaudeville circuit for black audiences Blackface was common on vaudeville but eventually died out Eunice Wilson (watermelon backdrop) and Nicholas Brothers (crazy tap #) who wore tuxedos The 50s/60s/70s – Black Playwrights & Black Theatre Companies Civil rights era brought awareness for black identity and performing arts Lorraine Hansberry got a lot of attention & Negro Ensemble Company was formed to nurture new generation of black writers, actors, and directors The Urban Circuit & Gospel Shows (90s –today) Two Calls for Black Theatre to Broaden Its Case: The Urban Circuit known as the "urban circuit," these musicals and comedies are simple, the acting broad, the themes basic. These productions address the issues that touch the lives of poor Black people (and many others): drugs, violence, immorality and, of course, redemption. Many in the mainstream of Black theater look down on these plays Tyler Perry has his roots in Urban Circuit August Wilson In James Earl Jones (1987) rendition of the scene “how come you ain’t never liked me?” – the scene is very dramatic and powerful In Denzel Washington (2015) rendition of the scene, it was played more comedic, the audience was actually laughing August Wilson, in his interview, discusses the importance of the blues and how it was a “testament” to the black’s spirit. “everyone has to find their own song” – connection to African identity he dropped out of school because the teachers thought he plagrized an essay 2 3
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