Langston Hughes: Folk Dramatist in the Protest Tradition, 1921-1943

By Joseph McLaren | Go to book overview

effectiveness as playwright of comedic works. Was comedy, as Pullen argued, "contrary to his [ Hughes's] natural moods and works"? Hughes's choice of the folk comedy does not necessarily imply that he abandoned "the emotional problems of the Negro Race." Rather, it suggests his alternate approach to reaching white audiences. Although Pullen did not appreciate the "droll" humor, he recognized that the black members of the audience favored "this kind of simple, lusty comedy," which, in its 1939 revival at Karamu, was considered "almost uniformly excellent." 74

Through humor, Hughes satirized racial inequities. He realized that the "very act and art of laughter are, of course, serious." 75 However, his Karamu comedies were primarily about romantic relationships. His farcical treatment of gender relations does not suggest the same intention as his humorous treatment of race, the resolution of inequities.


NOTES
1.
Mathew H. Ahmann, ed., The New Negro ( Notre Dame, IN: Fides, 1961) 139.
2.
Reuben Silver, A History of the Karamu Theatre of Karamu House, 1915-1960," diss., Ohio State UP, 1961, 235. Silver, perhaps the foremost authority on Karamu Theatre, was one of the first scholars to produce a substantive treatment of the organization.
3.
Shraine L. Newman, Karamu House, Inc.: 75th Anniversary Souvenir Book, ed. Margaret Ford-Taylor ( Cleveland: Karamu House, n.d.) 5-7.
4.
Newman7.
5.
Newman7.
6.
Festus R. Fitzhugh, personal interview, 4 Aug. 1993.
7.
John Selby, Beyond Civil Rights ( Cleveland: World Publishing, 1966) 26-27, 61-62.
8.
Silver170.
9.
Edith Isaacs, The Negro in the American Theatre ( New York: Theatre Arts, 1947) 96.
10.
Terrence Tobin, "Karamu Theatre: Its Distinguished Past and Present Achievement", Drama Critique 7 (Spring 1964): 89.
11.
Cora Geiger Newald, Karamu: 48 Years of Integration through the Arts," n.d., ms., Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, 19-20, app.
12.
Newald19-21. Cit. through p. 23 refer to app., "Plays Produced."
13.
Newman8; Selby60; Newald174.
14.
Newald19-20; Silver493 (shows different count for first season).
15.
Selby46-47.
16.
Festus Fitzhugh provided the following list of Gilpin Players: Louise Apple, Dave Beasely, Hazel Bryant, Sherman Brown, Elmer Cheeks, William Cooper, William Day, Lawrence Dooley, Dwight Gordon, Olive Hale, Leslie Ingram, Charles Jackson, Bill Johnson, Lila Jones, Percy Marshall, Dr. McMorris, Roland Mulhauser (white), George Nunn, Dorothy Smith, Helen Smith, Rayner Smith, Jack Stewart, Curtis Tann, Frances Williams, Joe Zenz (white).

-97-

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Langston Hughes: Folk Dramatist in the Protest Tradition, 1921-1943
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Publication/Copyright Page iv
  • Dedication Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Note xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Introduction 1
  • Endnotes 12
  • Chapter 1 - Folk Comedy in Collaboration: The Mule Bone Affair 17
  • Endnotes 29
  • Chapter 2 - Radical Drama and the Black Community 33
  • Endnotes 54
  • Chapter 3 - The Tragic Mode: Mulatto 59
  • Endnotes 74
  • Chapter 4 - The Gilpin Players and the Karamu Comedies 79
  • Endnotes 97
  • Chapter 5 - The Karamu Tragedies 101
  • Endnotes 114
  • Additional Info *
  • Chapter 6 - The Harlem Suitcase Theatre 117
  • Endnotes 136
  • Chapter 7 - Community Theatre, Black Iconography, and World War II 141
  • Notes 159
  • Notes 165
  • Notes 170
  • Afterword 173
  • Bibliography 175
  • Index 181
  • About the Author *
  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Afro-American and African Studies *
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