Day Of Absence

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Day of absence, written in 1965 is a racial satire depicting an imaginary Southern town where as all the black people have suddenly disappeared and the resulting anarchistic chaos that ensues, because of their disappearance. Absence (which was conceived as a reverse minstrel show), was written in 1965 by Douglas Turner Ward, found of the Negro Ensemble Company in New York City, which was the first Broadway based on theatre that produced theatre centered on the African American aesthetic. Using satire, Ward’s play is a provocative critique on white privilege and the protection of white identity. Because Satire, a verbal or visual mode of expression that uses ridicule to diminish its subject in the eyes of its audience, was profoundly effective …show more content…

Written in the production notes Ward informs us that the play is to be presented by black actors in white face, this presentational direction obviously takes its cues from the history of American minstrelsy, its birth, and multifaceted role minstrelsy played in the evolution of the social construct of whiteness in this country. Because, in Day of Absence the plot set up, with the mysterious absence of the Negroes, demands that the town’s people and the viewing audience recognize how the division of labor. In this play is the stereotypes are of whites playing their roles against the backdrop of the racialized hot bead of the civil right movement. This is revealed at the onset upon simply reading the character’s name and descriptions. Names like: Clem & Luke two country crackers, Mrs. Aide the overseer of the towns social welfare programs, Mr. Clan whose name speaks for itself, and the mayor appropriately lampooned by naming him Henry R. E. Lee. The plot the play is relatively simple. The town awakens to what appears to be a normal day, begins t quickly spin out of control as the town realizes and what happens to identity when the “other” is no longer under their

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