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

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De Turkey and De Law: A Comedy in Three Acts by Zora Neale Hurston is an exquisite and captivating play that brings humor, wit, and poignant social commentary to the stage. Set in the rural South during the early 20th century, Hurston masterfully weaves together the lives of various characters, shedding light on both the complexities of racial relations and the resilience of the African American community.

Hurston’s play showcases her unique talent for infusing comedy with deep social critique. Through her vibrant and lively characters, she explores the aftermath of the abolition of slavery, where new forms of racial oppression seem to take root. However, rather than presenting a grim and somber depiction of this era, Hurston employs her sharp wit and humor to present a more nuanced and even optimistic perspective.

The dialogue throughout the play is not only hilarious but also rich in vernacular and authenticity. Hurston’s use of dialect perfectly captures the spirit of the characters, allowing the reader to fully immerse themselves in the lives and culture of the people she depicts. Furthermore, the seemingly light-hearted banter serves as a vehicle for deeper insights into the lives of individuals facing racial prejudice and injustice.

One of the play’s standout features is its exploration of the theme of law and justice. Hurston cleverly uses a turkey trial as a metaphor for the inherent biases within the legal system and exposes the hypocrisy and absurdity inherent in the enforcement of the law in a racially charged community. This allows her to shed light on the underlying power dynamics and corruption present in society, while simultaneously highlighting the resilience and unity found within the African American community.

Another strength of Hurston's play is her portrayal of strong and independent female characters. In a time when women's voices were often silenced, Hurston presents multidimensional female characters who challenge societal norms and expectations. Through their actions and dialogues, she emphasizes the importance of self-determination, resilience, and community support.

Furthermore, Hurston's knack for storytelling is evident in her ability to seamlessly intertwine humor with serious social commentary. She delicately balances laughter and reflection, ultimately leaving a lasting impact on the reader. The play not only entertains, but also prompts important discussions about the nature of justice, the power dynamics within society, and the resilience of the human spirit.

In conclusion, De Turkey and De Law: A Comedy in Three Acts by Zora Neale Hurston is a masterful play that showcases the author's exceptional talent for blending comedy, social commentary, and emotional depth. Through her vivid characters, memorable dialogue, and intelligent use of humor, Hurston sheds light on the intricacies of racial dynamics and the human experience. This timeless work continues to resonate today and is a must-read for both lovers of theater and those interested in exploring themes of social justice and resilience.

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... Continue reading book >>

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