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De Turkey and De Law A Comedy in Three Acts   By: (1901?-1960)

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First Page:

[Transcriber's Notes: This play transcribed from an original typewritten manuscript at the Library of Congress in the Zora Neale Hurston collection. There are pencilled notations probably by Ms. Hurston herself. These pencilled edits have been transcribed as [Note: (text)] Any other questionable transcription is similarly noted. Nothing in the dialect has been changed. Occasional obvious typos in the stage directions have been corrected. There are inconsistencies in both bracketing and punctuation, which have been left as in the original manuscript. There seems to be an irregularity in the spelling of "Simms"; "Sims" seems randomly substituted.]






Jim Weston A young man and the town bully (A Methodist)

Dave Carter The town's best hunter and fisherman (Baptist)

Joe Clarke The Mayor, Postmaster, storekeeper

Daisy Blunt The town vamp

Lum Boger The Marshall

Walter Thomas A villager (Methodist)

Lige Moseley A villager (Methodist)

Joe Lindsay A villager (Baptist)

Della Lewis A villager (Baptist)

Tod Hambo A villager (Baptist)

Lucy Taylor A villager (Methodist)

Rev. Singletary (Baptist)

Rev. Simms (Methodist)

Villagers, children, dogs.


SETTING: A Negro village in Florida in our own time. All action from viewpoint of an actor facing audience.

PLACE: Joe Clarke's store porch in the village. A frame building with a false front. A low porch with two steps up. Door in center of porch. A window on each side of the door. A bench on each side of the porch. Axhandles, hoes and shovels, etc. are displayed leaning against the wall. Exits right and left. Street is unpaved. Grass and weeds growing all over.

TIME: It is late afternoon on a Saturday in summer.

Before the curtain rises the voices of children are heard, boisterous at play. Shouts and laughter.

VOICE OF ONE BOY Naw, I don't want to play wringing no dish rag! We gointer play chick mah chick mah craney crow.

GIRL'S VOICE Yeah, less play dat, and I'm gointer to be de hen.

BOY'S VOICE And I'm gointer be de hawk. Lemme git myself a stick to mark wid. (The curtain rises slowly. As it goes up the game is being organized. The boy who is the hawk is squatting center stage in the street before the store with a short twig in his hand. The largest girl is lining up the other children behind her.)

THE MOTHER HEN (looking back over her flock) Y'all ketch holt of one 'nother's clothes so de hauk can't git yuh. (They do.) Y'all straight now?

CHORUS Yeah. (The march around the hawk commences.)

HEN AND CHICKS Chick mah chick mah craney crow Went to de well to wash my toe When I come back my chick was gone. What time ole witch?

HAWK (making a tally on the ground) One!

HEN AND CHICKS Chick mah chick etc. (While this is going on Walter Thomas from the store door eating peanuts from a bag appears and seats himself on the porch beside the steps.)

HAWK (Scoring again) Two! (Enter a little girl right. She trots up to the big girl.)

LITTLE GIRL (officiously) Titter, mama say if you don't come on wid dat soap she gointer wear you out.

HEN AND CHICKS Chick mah chick etc. (While this is being sung, enter Joe Lindsay and seats himself on right bench. He lights his pipe. The little girl stands b by the fence rubbing her leg with her foot.

HAWK (scoring) Three!

LITTLE GIRL (insistent) Titter, titter! Mama say to tell you to come on home wid dat soap and rake up dat yard. I bet she gointer beat you good.

BIG GIRL (angrily) Aw naw, mama ain't sent you after me, nothin' of de kind! Gwan home and leave me alone.

LITTLE GIRL You better come on! I'm gointer tell mama how 'omanish you actin cause you in front of dese boys... Continue reading book >>

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