Let's start today by examining your favorite scene or monologue from The Colored Museum. Take a few minutes to re-read the scene/monologue. Take 10 minutes to complete your comment. In the COMMENT section of this blog, please answer one of the following questions. Make sure you identify the monologues or scenes you are using as examples. Try to be specific in your answer.
- The character speaking hooks his/her audience--what grabs our attention? What specific lines or narrative compels us (as an audience) to listen attentively?
- How the character(s) communicate(s) meaning (what's the purpose/point of speaking?) What seems to be the playwrights' message or point to his audience?
- How details and stage descriptions are presented to the audience. Why is it important to explain the action or character information in the stage directions as opposed to the words the characters say? What actions are suggested by the DIALOGUE or speech in the scene?
- How the story and plot are interwoven into the monologue or scene. What happens in the story? Examine what happens in the beginning, middle, and finally the end of the scene or monologue. How does the scene/monologue feel "complete"?
- How the playwright Wolfe uses language or diction to create visual imagery (metaphor, allusion, personification, symbol, simile, etc.), sound imagery (onomatopoeia, rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, assonance, consonance, etc.), and kinesthetic imagery (the movement of the characters or their actions; e.g., what are we "seeing" happen on stage?)
- How props or costumes are used (if any) help establish setting or character. What do props or costume descriptions add to the scene or monologue? How do they help develop or define characters or setting?
If you finish early, please learn about George C. Wolfe here at this link.
- What did you think about the play as a whole? Did it surprise you or please you or frustrate or confuse you? Which scenes or monologues did you like most? Why? Explain why you reacted to the play in this way.
- What is the premise of "The Colored Museum"? In a sentence or two, explain what you think is the premise or main idea/theme of the play. Is this premise interesting or important for a contemporary audience? Do you think people would pay to see this play if performed today? Why or why not?
- What challenges and stage requirements are necessary to produce this play? How has George C. Wolfe anticipated a low-budget theater being able to produce his play? What might a wealthy or supported theater be able to add to a production of this play? What did you learn about staging from the monologues or scenes you read?
- Why are the monologues or scenes in the order that Wolfe puts them? What is the reason to start and end the play with the monologues/scenes he does?
- Other observations? As a writer, what did you notice? What do you want to talk about in regards to this play? What might be important to remember as you write short scenes of your own?
WRITING TASK: In your journal or notes, brainstorm some topics for a play that might be important subject matter for a play. Outline your idea. Consider:
- Where would the action of the play take place?
- Would you have a single act or several? A single scene, or several? Why?
- What would be the basic PREMISE of your play?
- What characters would be needed to tell your story?
- Would the play end happily or tragically? What are some reasons why this would be your best choice?
Now, working together as a pair or on your own, choose to develop your outline. Create a short scene or monologue. Each scene or monologue should have a definite beginning, middle, and end. Aim to write at least 1 to 3 pages. Skip lines between speakers. You may format your script like the publishing format in the script. Be consistent, please. Your scene will be due at the end of class today.
HOMEWORK: None. Please complete your short scene by next class if you did not complete it in class today.
I noticed the effective characterization in the scene, "The Hairpiece." Throughout the scene, the two contrasting yet similar wigs, LaWanda and Janine, create effective conflict. This development becomes greater on page 23, when the 2 wigs speak at the same time in such a heated squabble. The props are simple, few, and manage to be the center of scene. The dialogue makes it come to life really well. -- Valerie Viau
One of my favorite monologues from The Colored Museum is The Gospel According to Miss Roj, What grabs my attention is Miss Roj's snapping throughout the monologue where he snaps such as "You must pronounce it with a snap. (He snaps)." (pg. 14) which happened to be one of my favorite things about this character; his use of this single gesture in order to tell his story shows that this is a part of his character and personality, which is what drew my attention to this monologue the most.
My favorite scene in the color museum is the wig scene the way the author made the wigs included really grabbed my attention. "wear me no wear me" i feel like that had a big impact on the scene because i never read a book where 2 wig were arguing so it was interesting.- aalaysia smith
Cookin with aunt Ethel is one of the funnier plays because how accurate she was when she was making the food but really where black kids and how they act and their traits was dead on. its good to a have a little humor. As the other plays talked about black history this was one pf the lighter funnier plays.
the tone of the speaker's voice grabs my attention, "don't be fooled by the banners and balloons 'cause, child, this ain't no party going on"(pg.17). this makes us listen more closely because the slang talk used, which isn't proper and tone makes it sound more stern.
In the scene the hairpiece the thing that grabs my attention is the fact that the wigs are actually talking like having a conversation about the bald woman at first. And what made me realize that I had to read closely is when I was reading and I read the stage directions that is describing the scene and the set up without giving away the whole story.
In the scene "The Hairpiece" Wolfe uses props to establish character as well as conflict. By having the two wigs come to life and talk to each other, the characters are technically inanimate objects so having the props help clarify that. It is also the basis of the conflict in this scene as well as a political message about beauty standards for African American women. Another prop choice that affects the scene is making the woman bald, which alludes to her being incomplete without one of the hairpieces and gives her less character. The real characters are LaWanda and Janine as indicated by the presence of hair. Of course the wigs also give a good idea of setting because it is somewhere private where the woman would be getting ready for the day.
1) The main factor in gaining our(the audience) attention in the dialogues said in The Colored Museum is shock. The shock factor. This is prevalent throughout all the plays in the book. One of the most notable and my favorite example is in the first play Git on Board. "Welcome aboard Celebrity Slaveship..."(1); the very first sentence itself has the "shock" in it. The immense racism in these plays and dialogues that is very much resented in today's era (and rightfully so) fascinates the audience, giving them( or us) an idea of just how brutal the past was. This racism is what really grabs our attention among other things
One scene that stuck out to me was "The Hairpeice". Off the bat the characters grab the audiences attention because they are not people, but wigs. This is unusual, lightly comical and very surprising. The scene is based around the two wigs fighting over who will get worn, which gives the scene some humor, but the more meaningful part comes in when each wig explains what they have to offer. The line "the kink in my hair is the kink in your heart" really stood out to me. It shows the struggle many women go through when having to choose what style to wear when, and balancing what expresses their personality and what they want people to see then as. The author also has the characters speak over each other which also grabs audiences attention.
One scene that was funny and interesting was the scene with the wigs. It was funny because the wigs were talking and both wanted to be worn. It attracted me as the audience because I never saw wigs talk and it was something new. It was also funny because they were arguing and talking to each other.
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