MA - DRAMA PAPER-- HOME ON THE RANGE BY AMIRI BARAKA
Home on the Range (1968)
· Title : based on an old song that was also accepted the national song of the state of Kansas ( USA)
Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
( then there is chorus)
· Theme/Purpose /Contents : Black protest against racial discrimination by the Whites
· Thought/message : that blacks are more natural, more creative than whites, who are imitative and who basically want to be like blacks. “Blacks are naturally superior; the whites will submit,”
· Form/ Genre: As a Black Drama / Ritual drama / Afro-American Drama/ Revolutionary Black Theatre
· Style & Technique : populist , African ritualistic, modernist ( experimentation with form, language , structure, etc.)
Amiri Baraka’s one act play The Home on the Range was written in 1968. In America there was an explosion of racial anxiety and violence in the 1960s and then emerged Black artistic, religious, and political movements within and beyond America. It was a period when the Black dramatists were expressing their rage against the Whites . Baraka’s plays like The Home… may be considered as the peaks of such expressions.
Baraka was a literary artist as well as an activist , a revolutionary. The 1930s’ depression, the World War II, and the 1960s’ assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy provoked his disenchantment with the world and with America’s politics and racial policies. By the mid-60s Baraka increasingly became involved with Pan-Africanism, protest rallies, and the African-American Civil Rights movement. He was particularly swayed by Malcolm X’s philosophy of “by any means necessary,” and by his contention that racial confrontation was inevitable.
As a member of “Beat Generation “ , he also advocated Bohemianism, an antibourgeois approach that attacked bourgeois life and aesthetic styles. According to him , the bourgeois literature catered to the interests and aspirations of the elite and failed to pose a threat to White America. So he wrote in the vein of “populist “ literature that played a functional role in targeting common people, particularly Blacks, and addressing critical issues that affected their lives. The message or thought behind his revolutionary dramatic works was “the Blacks are naturally superior; the Whites will submit,” He believed that blacks are more natural, more creative than whites, who are imitative and who basically want to be like blacks.
Baraka was also the founder of “Black Revolutionary Theatre” and “ Black Arts Repertory Theatre “(1965).The revolutionary drama of the 1960s was essentially anti-liberal, anti-academic and anti-European. The Theatre put White America on trial in a manner that brought about its symbolic, but hostile confrontation with the Black world. .As a chief exponent of the Revolutionary Theatre, Baraka played a leading role in defining a more practical task for Black drama, one that advanced themes of Black survival while teaching the people the relevance of struggle.
Baraka’s Revolutionary Theatre was a part of Black Art Movement which centered on experimentation with African socio-dramatic and religious traditions. As in African ritual systems, the Revolutionary Theatre did not distinguish the sacred from the secular, ritual from theatre, or theatre from life. It encompassed the total experience and aspirations of the Black community.
These plays were generally structured on recurring archetypal, thematic, and stylistic traits . Characters were typically allegorical, with White adversaries materializing as beasts or devils that had to be judged and destroyed along with their accomplices – middle-class Blacks who failed to reform. As a rule, the dramatic contest presented Black as good and White as evil, where, in the end, good triumphed over evil. It was a courtroom theatre where Whites were summoned and then summarily condemned and punished.
In essence, violence was a principal ritual instrument in Baraka’s revolutionary dramas. Beyond a strong and sadistic desire to kill Whites, his plays demonstrated the possibility of change through force and determination.
Some of Baraka’s plays initially deviate from a ritualistic pattern, but they end with ritual murders, thereby preserving the efficacy of ritual sacrifice. The Home is such a play that doesn’t follow the ritualistic pattern entirely , but still present the violence, murders and rebirth as in the rituals. The characters are not individuals but ‘types’ though not allegorical.
There are two sets of characters- the white ( family ) and the black .The family is presented with its members as ‘types’ who have lost their vitality and vigor of life . They are incapable of doing anything meaningful or original . The father or the son are not even able to stand erect independently. Father, Mother , Son and Daughter just sit and watch TV while eating popcorn and chattering. They are fully engrossed in the life on the screen. They are excited by the thrilling action on the screen. They laugh loudly as the characters on the screen laugh. When the Black criminal breaks into their house he can not understand their language which are just absurd babblings as responses to what is happening on the screen.
The Black Criminal does not understand what they are speaking. Confused and disturbed he asks them ,
“What the hell's wrong with you folks? Goddamit, shutup, shutup.”
“What? Goddamit, why do you people talk like that? What kind of language is that? I'm no fool. I been places. What kind of language you speaking? “
“And you people say something real; in fact from now on if any of you come out with that junglegoop bullshit, I'm gonna blow holes in you.”
Then he aims and shoots the TV .. the idiot box …the symbol of illusive or unreal life being lived by the Family. Then he asks them to speak something real ..and all the 4 members of the Family start saying
“ Light …light….light….light…” .Then they start jumping vigorously and get exhausted and collapse one by one. This is a kind of ritualistic death and then there is rebirth . The family members get up one by one and in a position of attention.
Then some Black men and women enter the stage ... they arrange a party , start singing and dancing. They also blame and abuse one another. Gradually the wild nigger party rises to full blast. Dancing, singing, cursing, fighting. The son crawls around the floor on his hands and knees following a black red-eyed girl with blonde hair and round sunglasses. The father dances around nude with a young negro in leather jacket .Thus , the white persons of the family get mixed up with the blacks . The language of the family members is now not absurd or unintelligible as before , it makes some sense. This is a kind of rebirth , ‘ a new beginning’ where there is no racial bias or discrimination. The black criminal says “ This is the tone of America. My country 'tis of thee.”
Then the Black criminal also addresses the audience- that is the middle class blacks who are not ready to reform .Then he also shoots at them thrice..as in a ritual. Now the whole White and Black bourgeois world is dead except 4-5 persons . The black black criminal wishes a new beginning .The play ends on an optimistic note as the Black Girl goes to look out the window.
“ Hey look, the sun's coming up. “ she says and bids good morning to the three black brothers.
Thus ,Baraka deals with the theme of racial confrontation and the dream of new Black America after getting rid of evil Whites and dull, middle class Blacks who are not ready to change and reform. He makes use of African socio-dramatic and religious traditions . He does not distinguish the sacred from the secular, ritual from theatre, or theatre from life. The play encompasses the total experience and aspirations of the Black community in America including their love for America. Thus , in all respects, The Home … is an Afro-American , revolutionary play written in ‘populist modernist ‘ style.
Amiri Baraka’s Revolutionary Theatre: A Reapplication of African Ritual Paradigms
(The rage expressed by Black dramatists in the 1960s may have peaked with the arrival of Amiri Baraka (formerly LeRoi Jones) on the theatrical scene. Prior to this time, a significant part of his growing up was informed by bitterness and violence.
Baraka was born Everett LeRoy Jones in Newark, New Jersey, on October 7 1934. The 1930s depression, World War II, and the 1960s assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and John F. Kennedy provoked his disenchantment with world and America politics, and with America’s racial policies. In 1957, following his “undesirable” discharge from the Air Force, for which he had no regrets, Baraka moved to New York.
On settling in Greenwich Village, Baraka spent more time writing poetry and experimenting with drama. The Beat community on New York’s Lower East Side afforded him the atmosphere to develop an art that has been defined as “populist modernism.” Populist modernism integrated “populist” Black experiences with those aspects of modernist Western literature and literary theory that were considered excellent and, therefore, appropriate. Opposed to bourgeois literature, which, in Baraka’s view, catered to the interests and aspirations of the elite and failed to pose a threat to White
America, populist literature played a functional role in targeting common people, particularly Blacks, and addressing critical issues that affected their lives.
The Beat period, 1957-62, was the first phase of Baraka’s rebellion against the bourgeois separation of life and art, since, at this time, he began to ascribe to the notion of art as an extension of the artist. To reinforce this ideal, he advocated Bohemianism, an antibourgeois approach that attacked bourgeois life and aesthetic styles. Populist and Bohemian principles offered Baraka an exploratory freedom that was lacking in standard bourgeois art. In departing artistically from middle-class values, he was able to identify emotionally with the oppressed.
Baraka’s anger and pro-nationalist stance are thus traceable to his political views and activities, for which he had a number of clashes with the police and White racists. In 1967 he was thrown in jail for a “misdemeanor” that was never proven. Affected by this background, the explosion of racial anxiety and violence in the 1960s, and the emergence
of Black artistic, religious, and political movements within and beyond America, Baraka’s drama championed aggressive solutions to America’s Black crisis. In all, therefore, his emergence as an activist was part of an ongoing artistic and political evolution that spanned the 1950s through the 70s.
The impact of Baraka’s transatlantic background on his drama partly manifests in his emergence as a major spokesman for the 1960s Black Arts Movement, which centered on experimentation with African socio-dramatic and religious traditions. In his reliance on African ritual forms, which he restructured within a Black American context, Baraka borrowed from a belief system that forged a close and sacred tie between the people and their social and natural environment. It is a relationship culled from the ancient inseparability of religious practice and secular events – folklore, ceremonies, or festivals. Although these ritual paradigms underwent transformation when they resurfaced in the New World, Baraka sought to reclaim their basic role in African society.
African ancestral models also surfaced in Baraka’s support for and commitment to the Black Theatre Movement, an offshoot of the Black Arts Movement. Both Movements shared the quest for a viable, anti-racist, independent Black theatre and influenced the founding of Baraka’s Black Arts Repertory Theatre in 1965, and his Spirit House Movers and Players troupe in 1968. Activities of the Repertory Theatre and Spirit House centered on the ideals of Baraka’s “Black Revolutionary Theatre” manifesto, which defied the ambivalence he associated with integrationist drama, and which further demonstrated his interest in African socio-artistic values.
To fulfill the goals of the Revolutionary Theatre, Baraka borrowed from and utilized the efficacy of customary African rituals and sacrifice. His confidence in ritual evolved around his nationalistic “return” to ancestral precepts. In preserving this sacred worldview, his Revolutionary Theatre adopted a rite-of-passage structure that thrived on violence and sacrificial rebirth. In part, therefore, Baraka presented Black drama as an extension of the oral traditions of Africa, and as a genre rooted in specific African sensibilities. The importance of exploiting African ritual and dramatic forms was twofold for Baraka; his plays threatened the oppressor while entering into the rediscovery of his heritage.
As his revolutionary drama progressed, Baraka’s status as Black Nationalist also developed. He increasingly incorporated black-based music, dance, language, and lifestyles as integral parts of his form, and, in this way, retained a deliberate Black and African-rooted rhetoric. The impact of tapping from a broad range of performance elements was with a desire to involve his audience emotionally, intellectually, verbally, and physically, much like the traditional African spectator-participant that becomes a fundamental part of performance through its choric presence. Up until its demise, the Revolutionary Theatre was reinvigorated by the reciprocal energy that it distributed among its audience.
Beyond the incorporation of several related genres, Baraka’s ritual drama was a bloody rite, one of exclusion and vengeance, purging Black society of White profanity( ill-treatment ). Whites were symbolically judged and exterminated along with their Black accomplices, a pattern aimed at engraining the Theatre’s message in the consciousness of its primary Black audience. Bloody sacrifice became Baraka’s formula for Black rebirth and American regeneration, which is why his revolutionary plays were structured on recurring archetypal, thematic, and stylistic traits. Characters were typically allegorical, with White adversaries materializing as beasts or devils that had to be judged and destroyed along with their accomplices – middle-class Blacks who failed to reform. As a rule, the dramatic contest presented Black as good and White as evil, where, in the end, good triumphed over evil. It was a courtroom theatre where Whites were summoned and then summarily condemned and punished, and where peaceful negotiations were eschewed.
The functional basis of Baraka’s drama was thus situated in a spiritual dimension aroused and sustained through ritual. The communality generated by ritual supported his ideology and retained certain liturgical qualities that derived from his African background.
Home on the Range
( some additional question points)
· “ Home …. “ as a futuristic parody of the hypnotic / mind altering effects of television on white society.
· In his “ Home….” , Baraka debunks / ridicules the falseness , sham or exaggerated claims of popular white culture ( as presented in the mass media) that all is well , the whites are advanced , the blacks are inferior , etc.
The white family in the play has been affected by excessive exposure to TV/ media/ technology . Their life has become stagnant/ static/ mechanical/ monotonous . They are not aware of the reality but are engrossed in the world of virtual reality .
Laughter is coming from the television set. A cold hideous sustaining laughter. ……..
Laughter goes on, rising. Then broken by explosions, of great dimension. Screams. People in violent turmoil. The laughter rises again above it. Now the FAMILY, the MOTHER starting it, passing it to the SON, to the DAUGHTER, then the FATHER. They all begin to imitate the laughter on the television screen. They are wiggling and shaking, slapping each other and grabbing themselves in a frenzy of wicked merriment.
They have lost their identity and have become ‘types’ / ‘ machines’ / ‘ robots’. They have become lifeless victims a system created by themselves ( the Whites) . The media has affected their language also … so they speak a kind of jargon. The criminal can not understand the disjointed words and phrases of the language used by the family. On the other hand the family cannot understand his language, his demand for money/ jewels.
The black criminal takes upon himself the task of reintroducing the white family to their original identity. He is helped in this task by the group of black people who enter and arrange the ‘ wild nigger party’.
By the end it is the black community ( the black criminal and other black persons) that bring in life and vigor in the white family by means of their language , song , dance and fighting. In other words the blacks bring sanity to the absurd life of the whites. They restore their individuality/ humanity. Thus the black criminal becomes the savior of the white .Thus, Baraka reverses the frequent role of blacks as hopeless victims of white oppression to those who triumph at the close of the play by bringing into balance an unfair system. ( This is the ‘ inversion strategy’ … inverting an original stereotype e.g. black person as an inferior person to be exploited/ victimized by the superior white)
The play targets the bourgeois black audience as well. It warns the blacks that they would become merely mimic features of an alien culture if they keep on imitating the whites and do not stick to their ( African) cultural base/ origins .
Home on the Range (1968)
A play by Amiri Baraka
A Crowd of Black People
Black Man 1
Black Woman 1
Black Man 2
Black Man 3
American front room. Window upstage center. BLACK CRIMINAL appears, in window. FAMILY seated in room watching television, eating popcorn, chattering.
Red hus beat the trim, doing going.
Yah, de 89 red garter shooting.
Siboom, das blows.
Deedee, dodo! Laredgrepe and stooble.
Noik. Dissreal grump!
Yak. Yak. Laughs.
Dulux cracks. The river. Yips.
Ahhhhhhk. Bretzel. Mamarama.
watches, pulls his gun up. He is pulling himself up to look in the window.
goes on with their "talk."
Crackywacky. Riprip. Dullong dulux cracks. Dirigible. [p. 3]
disappears, FAMILY goes on with affairs. Changes TV channel, etc. There is a sudden, loud knock at the door.
Vout. Resistcool. Dribble.
gets up and goes to the door. Vatoloop? She is frozen at the door at the sight of the BLACK CRIMINAL. Bastoloop, Baspobo.
more concerned. Swachtung, dirigible. Vatoloop? Gets up.
At the door, CRIMINAL is forcing DAUGHTER back into room.
Back up dollbaby, don't die in the doorway . . .
seeing CRIMINAL, makes nervous step forward. Lurch. Crud. Daddoom. Crench!
What? Not understanding. You see this gun, mumbler. Back up or I burn you.
Vataloop Lurch. Crench. Crench.
Shakes with fear, anger. Vacuvashtung Schwacuschwactung. Yiip! [p. 4]
What the hell's wrong with you? Goddam idiot, back up.
Rest of FAMILY now up and moving concerned toward door. Are frozen when they see FATHER and DAUGHTER under the BLACK CRIMINAL's gun.
Gash. Lurch. Crud. Daddoon.
turns to son. Yiip. Vachtung. Credool. Conchmack. Vouty.
screams suddenly at scene. Ahhhhyyyyyyy . . . Grenchnool crud lurch.
Rushes forward. SON restrains her.
What kind of shit is this? What the fuck's wrong with you people?
now huddles together in a collective whimper. MOTHER is still being restrained, now collectively. The FATHER strokes her nose.
Looking around . . . tentatively, cautiously. All of you, back up in the other room. Take your seats. Do what you was doing.
Laughter is coming from the television set. A cold hideous sustaining laughter. That backs the CRIMINAL unintentionally into the wallpaper. [p. 5]
He waves gun at television.
Laughter goes on, rising. Then broken by explosions, of great dimension. Screams. People in violent turmoil. The laughter rises again above it. Now the FAMILY, the MOTHER starting it, passing it to the
SON, to the DAUGHTER, then the FATHER. They all begin to imitate the laughter on the television screen. They are wiggling and shaking, slapping each other and grabbing themselves in a frenzy of wicked merriment.
shaken, and pointing his gun now at one of the group, who are falling on the floor, or onto the furniture still laughing. Goddamit. What the hell's wrong with you folks? Goddamit, shutup, shutup.
pointing at CRIMINAL. Vataloop bingo. Vashmash. Cratesy. Ming.
The FAMILY howls even louder.
He aims and shoots at the television set. And the FAMILY stops laughing as suddenly as the bullet shattering the set's tubes. Shutup! His shout now alone is very loud.
The FAMILY begins to sit down stonily. The CRIMINAL, panting, and distressed, stands tensely shaken in the center of the room. The FAMILY stares sadly at the television set. [p. 6]
very sadly. Vachtung.
What? Goddamit, why do you people talk like that? What kind of language is that? I'm no fool. I been places. What kind of language you speaking?
No answer from the FAMILY. The MOTHER and SON turn languidly and look at the CRIMINAL with a slothful mixture of despair and hatred. CRIMINAL moves over to the FATHER.
Raising gun near his face. You hear me talking to you. Your ears ain't painted on.
looks at the CRIMINAL steadily. Then he mumbles. Vo eein. Ruggles. And stuff.
What? What you mean?
Shakes gun. Speak up.
shouts. Crindlebindle. Stoopnagel funk.
Moves gun toward her, but FATHER steps forward in front of gun, raises his hand.
Crillilly bagfest. Gobble Gobble. Gooble.
What? [p. 7]
begins unbuckling his belt, steps out of his trousers. He has huge valentines sewn on his drawers. Gooble. Crillilly.
stands. Waving her finger at FATHER. Yaaash. Passsh. Chameleon.
turning to her angrily, waving her into her seat. Gnash. Pash. Flags and Fags.
begins doing a little step. Showing his dancing form to the CRIMINAL. He sings a song. Bubbles. Bubbles. Bubbles. Bubbles. Witchnight creaks. And bang.
You almost made sense that time. What the hell's going on? Look you, sit down. I don't have time to look at your boney ass trying to dance. I'm just a working man. And I've come, quite frankly, to commit a crime.
looks at him startled.You can't sit here, looking as weird as you do, and talking as weird as you do, and look at me weird when I say I came to commit a crime. This is the reign of terror, and I am Robespierre.
begins to giggle. FATHER does a dance, threatening to strip off his pants. [p. 8]
in background, starts to loosen her clothes, watching her FATHER cavort. She gets up and begins to cavort. She jiggles around loosely, opening her clothes.
begins to clap his hands to imaginary unrhythmical beat.
Vataloop. Vataloop. Bingo. Stringo. Vataloop jingo.
Shutup that shit, moron. If you want to talk, talk. For instance, you should have said, this is not the reign of terror, and Robespierre is dead, and was white, anyway.
stands holding his legs as if he was cold.Put on your clothes, Moriarti. And you people say something real; in fact from now on if any of you come out with that junglegoop bullshit, I'm gonna blow holes in you. Dig it?
looks at each other. FATHER suddenly makes a slight gesture at wall behind CRIMINAL. A VOICE comes over a concealed loudspeaker.
THIS IS THE VOICE OF GOD, EVERYTHING'S COOL! REPEAT! THIS IS THE VOICE OF GOD. YOUR GOD, WHOEVER YOU ARE, AND IT'S ME SAYING, EVERYTHING'S COOL! REPEAT. EVERYTHING'S COOL! [p. 9]
turns and shoots where the sound is coming from and the voice breaks off. The FAMILY jumps up startled.
Jewish accent. You got the wrong vampire. Sit down.
Now all FAMILY begins talking at once. In loud dinnish babble.
Criminies. Vatloop. Crouch. Bibble. Bibble. Crunch. Jab. Cribble. Awwwk. Awwwk. Crunch. Loop. Question. Bablies. Deaths. Robots. Jobs.
They end by screaming in unison. LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT
I understand you. You're talking close to right now. Keep it up. Keep it up.
They begin jumping up and down in place, screaming at the top of their lungs. Jumping wildly, trying to reach the ceiling. A screaming fear is tearing their faces.
LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT.
backs away from them. Light? What kind of place is this? They were more together when they were talking that other jive. Light, what?
The FAMILY jumps until they are exhausted then they crumple to the floor, or on the furniture, one by one. [p. 10]
Jesus, what kind of place . . .
Starts cautiously to look around for something to steal. Moves gun around in front of him as he moves. Looks in drawers, turning very often to look at the slumping family. Picks up a few small things, throws some back in disgust. Finally turns to FAMILY.
Hey, you people . . . wake the hell up . . .
Still looking, alternating between mumble and loud exasperated talk. Hey kid . . . Going over to SON. What the hell's going on in this place? I mean, jesus white christ, you go into some slick looking dump just to do a little business, make a little money . . . goddam, this ain't even my neighborhood. I come down here, to pop these chumps, and look what I run into . . .
Gesturing. Paddyboy Christ!
Shaking SON again. Hey, hey, boy. Wake the fuck up, willya??
stirs, looks up dazed and shaking his head. He tries to stand. CRIMINAL helps him upright. When he is standing, now trembling, he makes final effort to stand and then with great difficulty, gets words out.
Light! Lightlight light!
Throws SON back where he was sprawled. I heard that before . . . Ya' little . . .
Searches for word . . . . punk! Damn . . .
Stands looking at them. Damn. All I did . . .
Throwing up his hands. . . . was go out and look for a job . . . like all them cats in the newspapers say niggers ought to . . . and what do I run into . . . a goddam funnyfarm! [p. 11]
comes to consciousness for a brief second. She opens her eyes, raises her head.
Aw bullshit. She done retrogressed!
Hole in the wall where speaker was, starts grinding again, with broken, churning, gurgling sound.
Awwwwwwkkkk . . . awkkkk . . .
Seems to be gaining momentum, as if it was about to start, does start. Vataloop, Crunch. Criminies. Swachtung . . .
turns and fires again.
Oh, nogood, nogood . . . none of that bullshit from you!
Speaker gurgles, responding as if wounded by shot. . .cuts off with final statements. . .
Light. . .awwk. . .li. . .awwk. . .awwk. . .awwwwkkkkkkkk.
Now lights dim, and go down. . .finally off. Black. Lights come up and the entire FAMILY is standing up at attention.
CRIMINAL is slumping against the bar, sound asleep, but in a few seconds, as the FAMILY stands at attention, the MOTHER even, finally, clearing her throat. [p. 12]
The BLACK CRIMINAL comes awake with a start. The gun comes up, but then he seems to sense a different set of vibrations in the place, and he, too, comes to attention. The MOTHER sort of beckons to him to come over to where they are standing with just a slight toss of her head. CRIMINAL comes over. Then he, as if from a pre-signal, jams his gun into his breast pocket, and takes a collapsible baton out of the other pocket. He begins, with great fanfare (tapping on chair as if it is a music stand, calling for attention with his head and now very haughty demeanor, turning to acknowledge an invisible audience) to conduct the FAMILY singing: first a version of "America The Beautiful," then a soupy stupid version of the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which comes to a super-dramatic climax, with the CRIMINAL having been moved to tears, finally giving a super-military salute. As they reach the highest point of the song, suddenly a whole CROWD OF BLACK PEOPLE pushes through the door. The CRIMINAL wheels around, at first, startled, then he lets out a yell of recognition, and there is a general yowl from all the BLACK PEOPLE, and they proceed to run around and once they all take in the FAMILY, with second takes, over the shoulder jibes, and stage-whispered insult-inquiries, they race around and begin getting ready for a party. [p. 13]
Hey. Hey. What's happening? What the hell you folks doing here?
Hey, Billy, baby, we heard you was here working out, we figured we'd come down and see what was happening.
BLACK WOMAN 1
Yeh, Tillie figured there might be some grey-chicks down here, so she sent us down here to keep you cool.
The FAMILY is standing in the middle of the floor, speechless, at first. But when the records go on, most of them 45s taken out of one of the women's bags, the FAMILY tries to get involved in the party, mostly dancing with each other. The DAUGHTER finally dances with a very light-skinned sissy type negro with a briefcase and snap-brimmed Madison Avenue hat. The negro, when dancing frug-like with the DAUGHTER still never less his briefcase out of his hand. He also holds onto his hat. Two big negroes are also dancing and tossing the MOTHER back and forth between them.
BLACK MAN 2
Hey, dig this bitch dance!
A wild nigger party rises to full blast in the house. Dancing, singing, cursing, fighting. The MOTHER is tossed back and forth. The MOTHER is sprawled catatonically on the floor doing a spastic jerk as The Jerk. The SON crawls around the floor on his hands and knees following a black red-eyed girl with blonde hair and round sunglasses. The FATHER dances around nude with a young negro in leather jacket who waves his knife in front of him to make the FATHER keep his manly distance. The CRIMINAL is absorbed in the party, then backs off to watch. Then he turns smartly toward the audience, holding his gun out at them. [p. 14]
This is the tone of America. My country 'tis of thee.
He shoots out over the audience. This is the scene of the Fall. The demise of the ungodly.
He shoots once. Then quickly twice. This is the cool takeover in the midst of strong rhythms, and grace. Wild procession. Jelly beans. French poodles. Razor Cuts. Filth. Assassinations of Gods. This is the end.
He shoots.Run. Bastards. Run. You grimy motherfuckers who have no place in the new the beautiful the black change of the earth. Who don't belong in the motherfucking world. Faggot Frankensteins of my sick dead holy brother. You betta' get outta here.
He shoots again three times. The World!
The scene is as before with niggers lying all over everything. The house broke up. The weird talking grays piled in the center of a whiskey sleep dope ring of colored people.
The CRIMINAL squats over the FAMILY along with two others, the only people awake in the house.
O. K., let's have it again.
I was born in Kansas City in 1920. My father was the vice-president of a fertilizer company. Before that we were phantoms. . .
Waving at his FAMILY. Evil ghosts without substance. [p. 15]
looks at his brothers, nodding, as if a theory of his has been proven.
somewhat sleepily. Yeh. . . yeh. . .well ast the bastid why they put everybody through all these changes.
BLACK MAN 2
spots one of the women, the blonde-head black girl, stirring in the corner. He rises quickly, punching the CRIMINAL.
BLACK MAN 2
Hey. . .the tricky one is still breathin'. . .
BLACK MAN 2
Wow. That was some bash, all right.
BLACK MAN 2
You still look good, lady. Wish you belonged to me.
Everything'll be O. K. I'm real. And healthy.
BLACK MAN 3
comes out of his droop, seeing the girl awake. We're the only survivors, maybe, maybe. . .I better see if any of them other. . .
Heads for the women, begins shaking them. Sister, Hey sister.
Slapping them gently on the faces. Hey, snap out of it. Hey, if you don't open your eyes right now, you gon' miss a beautiful man.
All laugh. [p. 16]
turning to FAMILY, who still sit apparently asleep, except for the FATHER, nodding heavily. Hey. . .Prods FATHER. Hey. Now let's begin again. From the top Mr. Tooful. All laugh.
I was born in Kansas City in 1920. My father was the vice-president of a fertilizer company. Before that we were phantoms. . .
Nodding heavily, head hanging.
Come on, come on.
going to look out the window. Hey look, the sun's coming up.
Turns around, greeting the three brothers. Good Morning, Men. Good Morning.