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The Reckoning - Full Length Play

The Reckoning

Douglas Turner Ward

Full Length Play

5m, 2f

ISBN: 9780822209386

Concerns the bigoted governor of a Deep South state, who is blackmaile…

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: DPS Acting Edition

Full Length Play


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Concerns the bigoted governor of a Deep South state, who is blackmailed by his beautiful black mistress, and her procurer, into turning over all the money that graft has put in his strongbox—and also into persuading his constituents, assembled outside the statehouse, to allow a young black militant and his followers to enter the capital city unmolested. Essentially a contest of wits between the foxy governor and the even foxier pimp, the play is given contrast and dimension by the accompanying actions of the governor's boneheaded son, the prostitute, and the governor's black maid and chauffeur—who seem at first to be pure "Uncle Toms." Two long soliloquies highlight the play. In the first the pimp, facing the audience, unburdens his soul with harsh, powerful words of bitterness and loathing. In the second the governor rants of white sexual fantasies about blacks, and, perhaps unknowingly, embodies the hatred and fear which racism ignites. But when at last the girl and the pimp turn their full fury on the governor he can only stand silent and abased, his defenses swept away, his duplicity cruelly and tellingly exposed. The play is styled as a black daydream, but its truth and power are chillingly real and will linger in the mind long after the curtain has fallen.
A powerful and highly imaginative drama by one of our theatre's outstanding black playwrights, which strikes hard at the hypocrisy and innate bigotry underlying so much of the racial injustice in our society. "It is brilliant in its genesis as well as in its execution…a simple but stunning allegory…" —Cue Magazine. "…thoroughly engrossing…" —NY Daily News. "…(the) play's passion is alive…" —The New Yorker.


5m, 2f


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