Black Drama of the Federal Theatre Era: Beyond the Formal Horizons

By E. Quita Craig | Go to book overview

ELEVEN
IDENTITY IS THE SOUL OF DRAMA

RETURN TO DEATH, a play on black life which was produced by the Federal Theatre in 1938,1 was written by white author P. Washington Porter and revised by white playwright John Wexley. Copies of Porter's original script and of Wexley's revisions are in the Federal Theatre Collection and they record the white on black orientation of that era. The play is about black sharecroppers in the lower Carolinas, and all three acts take place at the two room shack where Irma and Alex Herman live with their small son, Dewey, and Irma's father, Old Jim.

As the original play begins, Irma is deeply worried: Alec, her worthy and hard-working bridegroom of a few years back, has become a drunkard, for no apparent reason; he idles away most of his time in the village, and Old Jim, who is long past his prime, is forced to work the cotton fields alone. Dewey is very ill and has to take expensive medicine, but the doctors at the county hospital have been unable to diagnose his disease and the child's condition is deteriorating rapidly; he now sleeps most of the time and even has to be roused to be fed. Evelyn Berl, the paternalistic and humanitarian daughter of the white land-owner, is concerned about Dewey and comes to the cabin to tell Irma that she is bringing her fiancé, Dr. Bert Brockman, to see him later that evening. But Evelyn is also concerned because Dr. Brockman, who now has a brand new medical certificate to his credit and is en route to New York to specialize in some branch of surgery, is suffering an attack of humility and is not sure he will ever become the great doctor he would like to be; Evelyn is anxious that his confidence be restored in himself. Irma remembers "Mr. Bert," who used to hunt with Old Jim when he was a boy, and is eager for any help he can give her sick child. Since it is dusk and Evelyn is afraid to walk home alone, Irma leaves Dewey in the care of Old Jim and escorts Miss Evelyn, and while she is away Alec arrives at the cabin.

Alec has been drinking, as usual; he is broke and in search of money, and is little concerned over his son's condition. He almost dismantles the house in search of money, which he eventually finds in one of Irma's hiding places. Old Jim tries to stop him from taking

-126-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Black Drama of the Federal Theatre Era: Beyond the Formal Horizons
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 239

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.