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The Mule-Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life in Three Acts   By: (1901?-1960)

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The Mule-Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life in Three Acts by Zora Neale Hurston is a captivating and humorous play that delves into various aspects of African American life in the early 20th century. Set in a small Alabama town, the play explores themes of friendship, love, betrayal, and social expectations within the black community.

One of the standout elements of the play is its vibrant and authentic dialogue. Hurston has a remarkable talent for capturing the essence of Southern dialect and infusing it into her characters' speech. Through their conversations, she expertly portrays the complexities of interpersonal relationships in a tight-knit community.

The humor in The Mule-Bone is another noteworthy aspect. Hurston's comedic timing and witty dialogue generate genuine laughter throughout the play. She cleverly uses satire to shed light on societal issues and challenges prevalent stereotypes, showcasing her deep understanding of human nature and the power of laughter to confront and overcome adversity.

Furthermore, Hurston's characters are vividly drawn, each with their own unique personality and motivations. The dynamic between Jim and Dave, two best friends at the center of the play, is compelling and realistic. Their banter and conflicting desires create a rich and layered dynamic that keeps the audience engaged from start to finish.

Additionally, Hurston uses the backdrop of the Alabama town to explore the complexities of race and class within the African American community. The play touches upon how societal constraints and racial prejudices can limit personal freedom and perpetuate cycles of injustice. Yet, amidst these challenges, the characters emerge as resilient and resourceful individuals who find ways to navigate through the obstacles.

However, it is worth noting that Hurston co-wrote The Mule-Bone with another playwright, Langston Hughes. This collaboration resulted in conflicting visions and legal disputes that overshadowed the play's initial reception. While the controversy surrounding its creation may have detracted from its overall impact, it is important to separate the artistic merits of the play from the circumstances of its production.

In conclusion, The Mule-Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life in Three Acts is a thought-provoking and highly entertaining play that explores the complexities of African American life in the early 20th century. Hurston's exceptional portrayal of characters, coupled with her skillful use of humor, makes this play a must-read for anyone interested in African American literature and the power of comedy to confront societal issues.

First Page:

[Transcriber's Note: A few obvious typo's in stage directions have been fixed, though nothing in the dialogue has been changed.]







JIM WESTON: Guitarist, Methodist, slightly arrogant, agressive, somewhat self important, ready with his tongue.

DAVE CARTER: Dancer, Baptist, soft, happy go lucky character, slightly dumb and unable to talk rapidly and wittily.

DAISY TAYLOR: Methodist, domestic servant, plump, dark and sexy, self conscious of clothes and appeal, fickle.

JOE CLARK: The Mayor, storekeeper and postmaster, arrogant, ignorant and powerful in a self assertive way, large, fat man, Methodist.

ELDER SIMMS: Methodist minister, newcomer in town, ambitious, small and fly, but not very intelligent.

ELDER CHILDERS: Big, loose jointed, slow spoken but not dumb. Long resident in the town, calm and sure of himself.

KATIE CARTER: Dave's aunt, little old wizened dried up lady.

MRS. HATTIE CLARK: The Mayor's wife, fat and flabby mulatto high pitched voice... Continue reading book >>

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