Cast of Characters
Mary, a black woman
Ann / c.o.1 / c.o.2 / c.o.3 / Air-Duct Voice / Lincoln / Merton / Miss Pierotti / Mom / Mouse / Nick / Parole Board Director / Shanna / The Floater. Roles are divided among five actors.
Time is fluid; locales are suggested.
one: nick’s dream
A silhouette of Lincoln reaches out to sign a paper.
[emerging from a forest] I tried to run away.
Now therefore I, Abraham Lincoln...
Hid in the forest . . .
. . . do order and declare...
. . . in the big pine trees.
... this proclamation . . .
At night runnin’ North.
. . . that all persons held as slaves are henceforward . . .
But my legs gave up. And Massa caught me.
. . . free forever.
Shackled me, scars on my wrists, and on my back where I can’t see ’em.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand. [exits]
[no longer in the forest] A free moment in the sun . . . ? Emancipation?
A video projection reveals that the ground has pennies scattered all over it; the dream is over. [End Page 37]
two: general population
[in the prison library with her friend Ann; c.o.2 watches as Mary reads from a test booklet] “Based on the 1945 map of Colonialism in Africa, the two groups holdin’ the most control at this time were—”
[coughing intermittently throughout the scene] The White Man and the White Man.
Ha-ha, no. “A. The Spanish and French. B. French and British. C. British and Portuguese. D. Portuguese and Italians.”
Okay, the Italians, the Mob.
If it’s not the White Man, it’s the Mob.
But what about the Portuguese?
Not sure—I suck at this . . .
They’re clumped together, Ann. Remember our colored map?
The blue and red had the most sections covered.
Shit, I can’t remember what the blue and red stood for.
Okay, what makes you think of the French?
I don’t know, what makes you think of the French? Toast?
[sketching a map] Here on the map is French Toast.
Come on, what makes you think of the British?
Fuck. The Queen?
Here’s the Fuckin’ Queen. [handing her the drawing] Just do whatever you need to remember.
Okay, now you. “Greek mythology uses characters to teach; and characters face moral dilemmas involving honor. The protagonists face challenges such as temptation—”
[sketching to help herself remember] Can you slow down?
“How has mythology evolved with new storytellers? Scholars maintain universal values, while adapting stories to their distinct cultures. It’s up to readers to seek their own truth—learn. According to the author, which is a message from Greek mythology?”
Oh no. [End Page 38]
It’s easy. “A. Love lasts if lovers are meant to be together. B. Resisting temptation yields ultimate success. C. Keep track of personal history. D. Not the fastest, but the longest, wins the race.”
This is CRAZY.
“Just do whatever you need to remember.”
I get nervous even thinkin’ about it.
It’s obvious—want me to read it again?
JUST GIVE ME A CLUE.
[singing a song by The Temptations] “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. . .”
[looking at notes] “Resistin’ temptation yields ultimate success.”
It’s like a secret code. Teach, moral, honor, they even use the word temptation. This doesn’t have anything to do with the Greeks, has to do with the author—the ones writing the test. And they’re writing it in code—you gotta crack the code.
Then why can’t YOU crack the code of Colonialism?
I don’t remember pictures, just words. [they sit in silence; Ann writes]
[sketching] Wanted to ask for so long . . . didn’t know how. . . Why didn’t you get manslaughter? [they don’t look at each other]
No, no, no!
He used you as his punchin’ bag.
[changing the subject] I’m never going to pass this...