Saw “Gleam” at Center Stage this past Saturday and it had rewards aplenty. I used to teach Zora Neale Hurston ALOT and from the moment I opened the first book, I was just so impressed by the essence of her voice. Reading her was like discovering the life of the world. In teaching her, I quickly saw how difficult it was for students to grasp the language. But—-this is where ye olde playwriting EX-PURR-TEASE comes into play. Because I’ve frequently found that audiences use language to to tune out of a cultural experience, just as they also use it to tune in. Especially so with Drama.
You can show 1,000 people being killed or massacred onscreen, but try and have a character speak a sentence or two that you can’t “get” or understand? Lord Love a Duck—-they won’t take the journey. Especially, if they’re listening to people of color. Folks want ethnic, but goodness don’t let it be too ethnic. Anyway, now since Zora now sits among slightly more literary and dramatic royalty than she used to, audiences are more inclined to stay with her.
Finished “Smiles From God,” and now, just like pushing my tiny paper boat out into the little nearby stream—-I’m setting it free. What it about you say? I put out a synopsis in one of my first posts. And it’s still the same. Didn’t finish it in time for the Baker Awards. But maybe the Bakers aren’t for me. That’s not saying Alonzo’s not good enough. That’s just to say what I said.