Presentation on theme: "Ma Rainey ’ s Black Bottom 9642015 王勝雨. August Wilson(1945-2005) He is half German and half African American. His fear of being a “ one-shot playwright."— Presentation transcript:
Ideas about the play His curiosity about the economic exploitation of black performers. Blues recording industry in pre- Depression America. Properties of the blues dynamic to re- create the emotional landscape of the late 1920s.
Subtext of the play Blues singer ’ s real life They move from South to North(Chicago) for “ easy money. ”
Blues researcher Hugh Merrill: “ The greatest migration in America took blues as baggage — from Mississippi Delta to Louisiana and Texas to California. ” Music is a possible ticket to financial freedom.
These men are forced to prostitute their wonderful musical talents for mere pocket money and pats on their backs. Their unwillingness to surrender their talents to the white power structure.
Ma Rainey Her blues functions as a vehicle transmitting “ the cultural responses of the black to the world around themselves in. ”
Ma Rainey: White folks don ’ t understand about the blues. They hear it come out, but they don ’ t know how it got there. They don ’ t understand that ’ s life ’ s way of talking. You don ’ t sing to feel better. You sing cause that ’ s the way of understanding life.
Cutler: That ’ s right. You got that understanding and you done got a grip on life to where you can hold your head up and go no to see what else life got to offer.
Ma Rainey: the blues help you get out of bed in the morning. You get up knowing you ain ’ t alone.there ’ s something else in the world. Something ’ s been added by that song. This be an empty world without the blues. I take that emptiness and try to fill it up with something.
Ma ’ s music has its basis in the South, and conveys the oppression of her southern audience as no other types could. Her singing is at once a symbol of the African continuum and a reminder of the resilience and perseverance of Ma ’ s people.
Levee A impetuous, hot-headed, selfish villain, who shows no reverence for an older form of music. His action and attitude enact Wilson ’ s theme of cultural fragmentation.
Identity issue in the play Toledo: We done the same thing, Cutler …. We done sold ourselves to the white man in order to be like him. Look at what you dressed …. That ain ’ t African. That ’ s the white man. We trying to be just like him. We done sold who we are in order to be someone else. We are imitation of white men.
Ma Rainey: They don ’ t care nothing about me. Well, I done learn that, and they gonna treat me like I want to be treated no matter how much it hurt them …. As soon as they got my voice down on them recording machines, then it ’ s like if I ’ d be some whore and they roll over and put their pants on ….
Levee: …. Cause he a white man ’ s god. That ’ s why! God ain ’ t never listened to no nigger ’ s prayers. God take a nigger ’ s prayers and throw them into the garbage. God don ’ t pay nigger ’ s no mind …. God hate niggers! Hate them with the all the fury in his heart ….
The plight of Levee Ignoring the need to maintain the tie to their ancestor. Mistaken self-devaluation of their culture. Cultural denial and emotional and financial bankruptcy.
James Baldwin: “ The American Negro can have no future anywhere, on any continent, as long as he is unwilling to accept his past. ”
Conclusion Ma Rainey ’ s Black Bottom represents a crumbling world where a group of black musicians are caught precariously between two cultures: one, they disown; the other, they fear.
References http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/ 2008/04/30/theafricanamericancentury/ Shannon, Sandra G. The Dramatic Vision of August Wilson. Howard University Press, 1995. Wilson, August. There plays. University of Pittsburgh Press, 1991. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma_Rainey's_Bla ck_Bottom http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Wilson