HARRIET'S RETURN EXCERPT
...Dey de kina people leaves markers in yo' head. De kine take ya where ya wannna go, but not de way ya wanna git dere. De kine lead ya ta some kina - wisdom, but not 'fore de scars o' de journey is carved inta ya soul...Already had 'nuff scars cut in my back,'cross my face, didn' need none deepa. Think on all de peoples had de courage ta leave--an' my insides ache...Start goin ta bed focusin' on my heart lack Mama and Papa Drake say...seem ta calm me some...
"The masses, are the asses, that's what President Jackson say, an' I concurs! " Dis colored woman got permission ta travel, sell pots, soap, combs an' oder thangs ta de quarter folk, sittin' top ha donkey drawed wagon, front my cabin sayin' dis. Ev'y time she come 'round she talk all evil ta us, 'cause she know she de onliest one anybody kin buy thangs from wit de few pennies we makes hirin' ourselfs out extra when we kin. So, I steps outside where ev'ybody gavered an' asses ha, "What do conquire mean?" "CONCUR! CONCUR, AGREE!" Den she mumble I a ig'nant one de masses ha an' Pres'dent Jackson talkt 'bout, who she cain't be boverd wit. So, I ass ha, "When ya had dis convasation wit Pres'dent Jackson seein' how he dead--An' seem 'culiar he'd lack ya, 'cause even ig'nant as I am, I know he de mos' hateful, trechrous, scoundrel o' a man evah took hol' o' a breaf. An' any colored person coul' lack him mus' be ig'nant dey own sef -- 'cause tain't nuthin' worser den bein' agin ya own peoples, 'specially since de "masses" is de ones payin' ya taday." Cora say, "Hush Harriet." -- "No. Whyoncha git' paid from dem Pres'dents ya CONCURRIN' wit so much?" She say, "Shut up, you stupid, little sassy black cuss! When you got you an ini'pendent b'iness such as I -- When white folks respects you like they does me, then you can talk ta me. 'Til then, you ain't nuthin' but a beaten up piece of slave meat. How much you think you go for?" Feel my heart flutta, thank maybe I shoul' move on, but de quarta lookin' ta me. So, I drops drop my eyes, an' takes ha all de way up. Say, "I b'lieves...I's priceless.' 'Priceless? Ha, Massa wouldn' even have you." "Bet he had you."
(Harriet hits the floor)
She slap me so hard, wind come trough one ear, out de oder. Fly up an' when I lands, see she done drawed de firs' blood, so ya know I gots ta draw de las'. 'Come on!' (Harriet fights the woman, getting in the last kick. Lights make the "cell") Lockt up in de store house six days 'hind dis mess. Dem Voices s'posed ta be 'tectin' me ain't. An' my high callin' ta save our dignity ain't nufin', 'cause dey still buys dey wares from ha anyway. .Cora sneak ta de door, make me jump whisprin', "Mama and Papa Drake say, 'Dat ain't yo' purpose.'" "You tell Mama and Papa Drake I say--"--Catches m'sef.
MAJOR CHANGES EXCERPT
This award-winning play was inspired by real events
(AT RISE it is 12:30 am and MAJOR in constant motion due to the cold, is silhouette by a handball wall. THADDEUS approaches him from behind.)
Sorry I'm late, Major.
(The first bullet hits Thaddeus center forehead. Major eases over to Thaddeus who is not dead, squats, and fires the silenced bullet into Thaddeus temple. Major then turns Thaddeus to expose the nape of his neck, and fires into the back of his head. Major turns Thaddeus face up on his back. They stare at each other. Major removes Thaddeus' ring.)
Figure you wouldn't want the cops to take it. You don't hurt do you? I hope you don't hurt Thad.
(Major strokes Thaddeus lovingly.)
I'll miss you.
(Major gathers the casings and leaves. Lights fade…and up on Major who enters his dark apartment directly into the living room. There are bookcases stacked with African-American, world history, spiritual and metaphysical matter. Mounted on the wall is an OM symbol, a Koptic cross, and a painting that reads, I AM THAT I AM. There is leftover birthday cake, two cards to MOM, and cut flowers in a crystal vase on the table. In the dark, Major takes a cushion from the couch and places it on the floor. He sits on it, closes his eyes and goes into a meditative posture)
Hi God. I feel like Abraham who didn't get spared from killing Isaac. Thank you for allowing me to be a worthy warrior. Sometimes knowing right from wrong is so subtle. I don't want to make anymore mistakes. Thank you Mother, Father God. Keep me on my path and in thy ways...Take me into your silence now. Take me...
(Instant blaring light as MARY, Major's mother, flicks the switch. She squints to see him)
What are you doing?
Praying and planning, Ma. It is entirely possible to build a world the way you want it. That's what I'm doing. And then, I going to branch out to other people...
WELL! WELL! WELL! EXCERPT
This play was commissioned by the Department of Culture, Government of the British Virgin Islands, and performed by an amazing, diverse, multi generation cast, as the kick-off event of their Annual Emanicpation Day Celebration.
(THE PLAY opens with PEOPLE OF ALL AGES leaning against or sitting on The Sunday Morning Well, on Tortola-British Virgin Islands, swinging their feet, and kicking it as they talk. CHILDREN and TEENS run round, and bump into it, as they play and shout, etc.)
Ow, Ow, ow!
You’re hurting me now.
(Everyone stops what they're doing, whether reading newspapers, talking or playing, and looks at each other to see who said,"Ow.")
Did you hear that sound?
The source it can’t be found.
Ooo, ooo, ooo,
I've been protecting you.
There's something in the air,
It's coming from down there.
Hee, Hee, Hee,
Look inside of me.
We feel as though we're dreaming,
But listen...We hear-Screeeeeeeeeeeeaaming!
INSIDE THE WELL
Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yiiiiiiiiiiiiii!
(Pounding reverberates, then evolves into DRUMMING, followed by AFRICAN DANCERS in clothes and adornments representing many tribes and cultures such as, Ibo, Yoruba, Ashanti, Guinean, Congolese, Mandingos, Senegalese, etc., coming up out of The Well. They chant and dance face to face with the People who were "accosting" the Well, shocking them with their impassioned movements as they encircle them. Some of the Dancers are sad, some are glad to be out and about, others are intimidating. A few move into the audience. From here on, The Well and everyone else speaks the dialogue as poetry unless otherwise directed.)
Stop! They forgot that you’re related,
It is all so complicated,
You know it's been 300 years,
Since history brought you all to tears,
And many people have forgotten,
Because the story is so rotten,
That freedom was a hard fought fight,
But we can reach them here tonight,
Remember no one is to blame-
Well, perhaps there're some—actually too many to name,
But let that not become our task,
Enlightenment is what we ask,
So hug someone who's next to you,
( Dancers hug those on stage and ENSLAVED PEOPLE AMONG THE AUDIENCE make their way to the stage hugging people as they go)
We can't afford being vexed, it's true,
We must create pure harmony
Which in this world is an anomaly.
(The Dancers go to the African Village-stage right-where they work, lounge, cook, eat, play, court, and have day-to-day life-this should be somewhat choreographed as The Well speaks.)
To get us started let's go back,
To when our lives were most on track,
And we lived well in our native land,
In peace and love-with a few wars at hand,
But mostly there was joy and bliss,
And God of course was at the center of this,
And then there came the dreaded day,
When foreigners took many of us away,
(MUSIC emphasizes the assault and journey as SLAVE TRADERS raid the village in a dancing fight to take control. Once captured, there is movement as the bound African Dancers cross the stage in a boat-rocking momentum. The Enslaved People who were in the audience join the rocking boat-as though picked up from elsewhere. They all end up on the other side of the stage, where it is dark and foreboding with dense foliage.)