Oh, Black People!

The Musical

Act I
Michael V Waechter

Cast

James Labron An African slave brought to America; distinguished and idolized John Smith A businessman in the Fulton County slave trade; has a superiority complex Jack Montana Plantation owner, stern but kind; recognizes Negros as human but as a lower subspecies Miss Hannah Jack Montana‟s beautiful daughter; intrigued by Negros and dreams of having relations with them Jabari Jackson Plantation worker; typical Negro, speaks broken English and likes fried chicken Maureen Jabari‟s wife and personal seamstress to Miss Hannah; resembles Mrs. Butterworth Martin King Co-chairman of the New Assembly for the Acceptance of Cotton Pickers Luke and Matthew John Smith‟s henchmen

Act I - 1792 Scene I Scene II Scene III Scene IV Scene V Scene VI
A plantation in Fulton County, Georgia A slave ship in the Atlantic Pre-Atlanta, Georgia slave auction The fields of Montana Manor Montana Manor slave quarters/yard below Miss Hannah‟s bedroom window The fields of Montana Manor

Act II – 1963 Scene I Scene II Scene III Scene IV Scene V Scene VI
The Underground Railroad The steps of the Lincoln Memorial The home of Jabari and Maureen Jackson The tavern „round the corner The wood behind the ghetto The steps of the Lincoln Memorial

Act I
“Negro Wasteland” James & Company “Look Down” Ship‟s crew, Smith “Journey to America Medley” James & Company “Fulton County Auction Song” Jack, James, Company “Yo‟ Mamma So Fat Spititual” Plantation Slaves “Maybe/Miss Hannah” James, Hannah “Thread Through the Needle” Maureen “Maybe/Miss Hannah (Reprise)” James, Hannah “Shawty Got Low Spiritual” Plantation Workers “Leaving the Field/Negro Wasteland (Reprise)” James, Hannah, Maureen “Defying Slavery” Jabari

Act II
“Railroad Underground” Negro child “Hey, Negro!” Jabari, Hannah, Company “Segregate” Company “Blacks” Smith “Red and Black” Maureen, Martin, Jabari, Company “Maybe/Miss Hannah (Reprise II)” James, Hannah “Lynching Maureen” Smith, Matthew, Luke, Company “I Dreamed a Dream” Martin King “Finale/Negro Wasteland (Reprise II)” Company

We are proud to present a musical with all-new, completely original songs. Any resemblance to any other musical, commercial jingle, or pop song is purely coincidental. Remember: this is a book. If you draw comparisons, it‟s all in your head... And you‟re a little bit crazy.

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“Oh, Black People! The Musical” is a two act show performed by an all-white cast in black make-up. Creative liberties were taken with the historical accounts in order to form a cohesive story. Actors are to be serious in their roles as this is a dark account of the blacks‟ rise to power in the United States. We now present: Oh, Black People! The Musical *** The lights dim. The crowd goes silent. The baton is raised. There‟s a moment of hushed pause... the synthesizer begins. The opening instrumental is an upbeat scurrying of notes running on a loop. 5 seconds in, further notes are added. At 18 seconds, the patterns fluctuate and dance around one another, building faster until at 42 seconds, the rich strikes of a piano cut into the synthesizer with a bold melody. The curtain opens. Act I – 1792 Scene: A plantation in Fulton County, Georgia. The majority of the cast is assembled on stage as plantation workers, each person holding either a hoe or a rake. They are lined up in two rows in a cotton field setting. The backdrop shows a bright blue sky; the sun is visible. The stage lights are at half intensity suggesting early morning. The feeling is one of tranquility and peace. As the piano and synthesizer continue their frantic melodies, James Labron steps forward from the rest of the cast to sing with the orchestra for the show‟s opening number. James Out here in the fields, I work for your meal. I get my back into my picking. I don't need to fight, To prove I'm not white. You can tell I'm black from my stinking. Don't cry. I'm here to die. It’s a lonely Negro wasteland! The stage lights explode to full strength. Streams of spotlights descend upon the audience as the cast erupts into a cheerful do-si-do around the stage.

Company Negro wasteland! Rappin’ Negro wasteland! Negro wasteland! Yeah, yeah, yeah! Rappin’ Negro wasteland! We’re getting wasted! The cast pauses and pulls joints out of their pockets to begin smoking marijuana as the song reaches an instrumental bridge, a series of rapidly ascending notes evoking the sense of daydream. Cast members dressed as giant smiling cotton balls waddle onto the stage and link hands with the plantation workers. The orchestra breaks into a melody resembling Irish folk music. The plantation workers and cotton balls step-dance together before exploding into another massive do-si-so. The instrumentals pick up speed. The song rises to its massive climax. The cast members stop in place and raise their hands into the air. Company (Retard) Negro... WASTELAND! At the final note from the orchestra, the cast snap their hands into place above their heads, faces smiling. Applause A clash of symbols leads the orchestra into a somber melody as the cast scurries off stage. *** Scene: A slave ship in the Atlantic; just off the coast of America The backdrop is raised, and the stage is reset to resemble the deck of a ship at sea. Several white slave traders and sailors scurry around the stage. John Smith is among them. An African has escaped the cargo hold! Ship’s Crew (Pointing toward the cargo hold below the deck) Look down, look down! The hold is full of slaves! Look down, look down! It’s darker than a grave! Sailor One The heat is strong, It’s hot as Hell below! Ship’s Crew Look down, look down! There’s still some miles to go!

Ship’s Crew

Look down, look down! The darkness helps them hide! Look down, look down! Another one just died! Smith Now bring me prisoner, African 51. James Labron is pushed on stage by two white sailors. He is thrown to his knees in front of John Smith. Smith I hear you escaped And that you tried to run. You know what that means? James Clearly I’m not free. Smith No! Five lashes for what you did. I feel you’ll be a trouble one. Yes, African 51? James My name is James Labron! Smith And I am John Smith! Do not forget my name. Do not forget me. African 51! The stage darkens as two more white sailors shove James Labron toward the edge of the stage and into the cargo hold below deck. The stage lights dim aside from spotlights over the stage that are filtered through unseen grating simulating the effect of sunlight reaching the cargo hold through the hatches on the ship‟s deck. The white crew exits the stage as the remaining cast fills the stage as the captive Africans; their faces are painted black. They are chained together in pairs and bunch together as though in a tight space. A soft piano plays a magical melody as a small set of chimes are struck. James Labron stands just in front of the other Africans as a spotlight washes over him. James Far, We’ve been traveling far. Ripped from our homes, Cuts turned into scars. A tearful African woman, Lateesha, steps forward as far as her chains will allow to stand in line with James Labron. She sings harmony.

James and Lateesha

Free, We just want to be free. We’re huddled close, We’re standing in pee. The orchestra takes off in a hot, exciting Latin beat. The stage comes alive with cheery lights as the cast, still huddled close together, bounce back and forth as a single unit. Company I want to be in America! Will they feed me in America? Heard it’s so clean in America! Hope I’ll be free in America! Montel Hope they got something to kill lice. De’Angelo Any shampoo would sure be nice! Raquel I hear they wash clothes with a machine! Antoine Though we got nothing to keep clean. Company We’ll see the sights in America! They’ll treat us as white in America! Not squished in tight in America! Life will be bright in America! The cast steps forward to do a “chain-gang” kick-line. Company Cause there are... NO blacks in America! So we’ll do whatever we please! We’ll be the first blacks in (Retard) AMER... I... CA! (Pause) Unless... it’s... all... A tease! The trumpets explode with the National Anthem while a stage-sized Statue of Liberty is wheeled into view. The ship has reached America. The trumpets fade out as the lights dim. The cast places their hands over their hearts and begin a slow a cappella.

Company

O beautiful For spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties, Above the melon plains! AMERICA! AMERICA! The land of KFC! We’ll take the goods back to our hood, From sea to shining... The crack of a whip is heard as the white ship‟s crew, led by John Smith, overwhelm the Africans and start pushing them off the stage. Smith Alright, you darkies! Off to the auction! Applause *** Scene: Pre-Atlanta, Georgia slave auction Acoustic guitars and fiddles play the scurrying introduction. The backdrop is lowered showing the oldfashioned buildings of 1700s Georgia. Hay bales and a podium are set. Some of the cast enter as white slave masters and seat themselves on the hay bales. An auctioneer takes his place at the podium, a chained African shoved onto the stage next to him. Another white slave master enters and approaches front center stage. Slave Master One Well I went down to the Fulton County auction, To buy some slaves that I just had to have. Slave Master One My mind told me I should proceed with caution, Or else I’d get me one of them that raps! And I said: Company Hey, little darkie, gonna flash my sign! I’ll give anything to make you mine-o-mine! You’ll do my bidding and be at my beck and call! Big arms, strong jaw, you’re looking so fine, Man I gotta have him, he’s a one of a kind! Auctioneer He’s going once! Going twice! He’s SOLD To the man in the second row. Auctioneer

I’ve got 8, I’ve got 9, And they’re priced to go. With their fat puckered lips, burnt hair, dark eyes, I gotta bid this lot goodbye! The auctioneer shoves the chained African toward one of the slave masters who walks him off stage. James Labron is pushed on stage and takes his place next to the auctioneer. Jack Montana enters from stage right. Jack Well, the auctioneer is going about a mile a minute. He’s taking bids and calling them out loud. I guess that I should really jump right in it. And so I shouted out above the crowd! And I said: Company Hey, little darkie, gonna flash my sign! I’ll give anything to make you mine-o-mine! You’ll do my bidding and be at my beck and call! Strong back, good legs, you’re looking so fine, Man I gotta have him, he’s a one of a kind! Auctioneer He’s going once! Going twice! He’s SOLD! You just bought a big, black mess. Nothin’ but trouble, he just won’t rest! With his fat puckered lips, burnt hair, dark eyes, Thank God I bid this lot goodbye! The auctioneer exits stage left as the slave masters congregate mid-stage. James Labron walks to front stage and catches Jack Montana‟s attention. James I’m James Labron from the auction block. Jack I’m gonna haul your ass away! And you will plow and tend my fields Until your dying day! Cause I said: Company Hey, little darkie, gonna flash my sign! I’ll give anything to make you mine-o-mine! You’ll do my bidding and be at my beck and call! Big arms, strong jaw, you’re looking so fine, Man I gotta have him, he’s a one of a kind! James

I’m going once. Going twice. I’m SOLD To Jack from the second row. Company I bought 8, I bought 9. Now got 10 to hoe. With their fat puckered lips, burnt hair, dark eyes, And now we’re gonna bid this place goodbyeeeee! Heeee! The orchestra hits its final note. The cast goes into a freeze. Applause The cast scatter and move hay bales off the stage. Jack begins to lead James off stage right. John Smith enters from stage left. Smith Jack Montana! Jack Montana pauses just before exiting. He turns to face John Smith. Jack John Smith! There‟s a pause of tension before each man relaxes and erupts into hardy laughter. They approach one another shaking hands. James Labron remains at stage right. Smith It‟s been years, old chap! What brings you down here to this grubby place filled with Negros? Jack I just popped in to grab myself another slave. The good Lord has blessed us with a bountiful of crops this year. Ain‟t enough of these damn monkeys to get the work done. Smith Great to hear of your good fortune, and I must say, you‟ve come to the prime spot for labor shopping. My men and I handle only the highest quality slaves plucked straight from the beaches of West Africa. And now in light of my recent retirement, I joined the crew on the final ship and picked this lot personally. Jack And what a fine lot they are indeed! I was pleased to make it to auction just in time to pick up this fine item. Jack Montana motions toward James Labron who John Smith finally notices. John Smith‟s expression turns grave and serious. Smith Out of the hundreds in this lot you purchased THAT one? Jack

Why, yes. It looks quite strong and well mannered. Is there a problem? John Smith refrains from speaking of the trouble James Labron caused during his voyage. He instead softens his face to hide his displeasure. Smith Of course not, my friend! I did have a few run-ins with this one in particular on my ship, but I hadn‟t meant to imply any distaste in your choice. Surely you‟ll be pleased once you put it to work. John Smith‟s face turns grave again. He approaches James Labron. Smith However, dear Jack, I have decided to settle now in this great colony of Georgia. Should you have any... complications... John Smith hands a card of information to Jack Montana. Smith ...I would appreciate it if you would allow me to handle it personally... for a price, of course. Jack Of course, John. In all the years I‟ve known you, you‟ve always handled matters with a just hand. Smith I appreciate your sentiments. Unfortunately, I must now take my leave. Give my best to your wife and the lovely Miss Hannah. Perhaps in the near future we can plan a formal supper in honor of our friendship. Good day! John Smith and the rest of the cast exits leaving only James Labron and Jack Montana on stage. Jack Alright, Negro, we must be on our way. Off to the plantation! The orchestra plays a cheerful interlude including several bars from the “Journey to America” medley. *** Scene: The fields of Montana Manor The backdrop is raised to uncover the backdrop showing fields of cotton beneath a sunny blue sky. The plantation slaves line up in rows, Jabari Jackson among them. Half the cast are miming picking cotton while the other half carries hoes that they swing over their heads and pound the stage to accompany their spiritual chanting. The “Yo Mamma So Fat Spiritual” is intended as a work song that is chanted in monotone as the workers focus on tending the field. Plantation Works Yo momma so fat... Yo momma so fat... Yo momma so fat, Lord: Negro One She sat on a rainbow and Skittles popped out!

Plantation Workers Yo momma so poor... Yo momma so poor... Yo momma so poor, Lord: Negro Two She went to the park and ducks threw bread to her. The workers continue humming their chant as Jack Montana leads James Labron on stage from stage right. Jack Welcome to the fields of Montana Manor! I‟m sure you‟ll find your stay quite comfortable. True, you‟ll be sleeping on straw and rarely be given the opportunity to bathe, but you‟ll find the fleas don‟t bite quite as bad as the ones in Africa. We‟re also more of a progressive plantation. I don‟t go whippin‟ Negros just for fun. I understand that within each of you there‟s some shred of humanity. As long as you‟re doing your work and mindin‟ your business, you ain‟t got nothing to fear. James Thank you, sir. You are quite kind. Jack Ah, it‟s just the soft spot in my heart. I‟m often reminded of this scrappy dog that roamed the alley where I grew up. Most folks just kicked the poor thing and called it a dirty animal. I at least gave it a name. I don‟t suppose you have a name, Negro? James It‟s James, sir. James Labron. Jack Well, James, I‟m pleased to have you in my fields. Now head off to the quarters and suit up. James Yes, sir. James Labron exits stage left. Jack Jabari! Jabari Jackson leaves his row of workers and joins Jack Montana front stage. Jabari Yes, massuh? Jack Go give that new slave a hand, and show him around a little. Jabari Yes, massuh. Jabari exits stage left. Off stage Miss Hannah is heard calling.

Hannah Father! Miss Hannah enters stage right waving her hand at Jack Montana. Hannah Father! Jack Yes, my dear, Hannah? Hannah Mother has sent me to retrieve you for supper. Jack Tell your sweet mother that I‟ll be there momentarily. Hannah I shall... and father? Who was that man you were talking to earlier? That new DARK man? Jack Ah, Hannah, that ain‟t no man, just another slave I bought myself at the auctions this afternoon. Calls itself James. Now we must hurry in to supper before your mother gets angry with us. We stay out much later and she‟ll be whippin‟ us like a flock of screaming Negros! Jack Montana exits stage right. Miss Hannah lingers a moment longer. Hannah James... After a longing gaze toward stage left, Miss Hannah exits stage right. The stage lights dim as the sun sets. *** Scene: Montana Manor slave quarters/yard below Miss Hannah‟s bedroom window A rolling set resembling the inside of a stable is set on stage left while the western wall of the Montana house containing Miss Hannah‟s darkened bedroom window protrudes onstage from stage right. A small one-room guest house is set rear center stage but is turned so that the outside back wall and window is visible to the audience while the opening to the interior faces backstage. Light flickers from the window. James Labron is inside the first stable rearranging some straw on the floor. Jabari Jackson is standing over him. Jabari I hope dat be comftable „nuff fo ya. You findin‟ you cold at night, come find me, bruddah, I hook yo ass up wit mo‟ hay.

James I‟m sure this‟ll be fine. Thank you for all your help Jabari. After months sailing in a cargo hold packed

in tight with strangers having to sleep standing up in all their waste, I must say it sure is nice to finally have a friend and not feel so alone. Jabari Of course, foo! Yo bro Jabari Jackson gotcho back on dis here plantation. Anytime you need a friend, juz call mah name and I BE dere! Now getcha sef in dat hay and have a good night. James Goodnight Jabari... my friend. Jabari Jackson lies in his own pile of hay opposite James Labron. As James Labron begins to settle in, Miss Hannah‟s bedroom light turns on. Soft female humming filters in from off stage. James Labron sits upright at the sound. Miss Hannah appears at her window combing out her blonde, white-person hair. Oboes fade in with her humming. The rest of the winds join in. Hannah Maybe far away, Or is he real nearby? His skin’s the color of coffee, Or maybe the color of rye. James Labron leaves his bed and begins walking toward the side of the Montana house. Hannah Maybe by a house, Or hiding by a hill? Can’t see him hiding in shadow, Beyond the edge of my sill. Betcha he’s young! Betcha he’s strong! Bet he collects things, Like melons and bongs. Betcha he’s good. Why wouldn’t he be? And always I wish That he’d look at me! Maybe now it’s time, And maybe with this James, He’ll want to make me his baby. Maybe. Miss Hannah vanishes from the window. The winds continue as James Labron stands awestruck below her window. James Never in my life have I seen a creature with such pure, pale skin! James Labron runs back to the stable and shakes Jabari Jackson awake.

James Jabari! Jabari! Wake up! Jabari Wassup, foo? Doncha know not to wake a sleepin‟ bruddah? Gonna get a cap in yo ass, man! James I just saw an amazing girl. She was... singing. She had the most... beautiful voice. Jabari Ah, James, I think ya jus‟ snorted a bit too much o dat co-cain. Off we go! Jabari Jackson attempts to drag James Labron back to his straw. James Labron breaks away from him. James No, Jabari, she was real! Whose window overlooks this yard? Jabari Aw damn, man! Dats Miss Hannah, man! She da massuh‟s dauttah. Dontcha go trespassin‟ dere or it be a might fine whippin‟ fo ya... or any udda youth wit mischief on his mind. Jabari Jackson returns to his hay stack. As the orchestra increases in intensity, James Labron approaches the side of the Montana house in a trance. James I feel you, Miss Hannah. I feel you. I am half convinced I’ll waken, Could it be I’ve only dreamed you? Hopefully I am mistaken, Miss Hannah returns to the window staring out at the stars. James Miss Hannah! Hannah Betcha he’s hung, Great in the sack. Once I taste darkness, I’ll never go back. Just look at that dick, As straight as a line. Don’t really care, As long as it’s mine! James I’ll feel you, Miss Hannah! Hannah So maybe now this prayer,

James I’ll feel you! Hannah I know, one of a kind, James Do they think that walls can stop me? I’m lurking right below your window. Hannah Will you come make me your baby? James I am in the dark beside you! Cause I’m black you cannot see me there! Hannah Maybe. Miss Hannah leaves her window. The light goes out. James Labron takes a moment‟s pause before belting out. James I feel you, Miss Hannah! And someday, I’ll steal you! And while I’m waiting For that fateful day, I’ll be sleeping in that pile of hay! James Labron and the orchestra crescendo for the final note. James Labron slowly brings his hands above his head pausing when the orchestra hits its final note. Applause A new voice is heard. Maureen sings a cappella from within the guest house. She is currently unseen. Maureen I’d like to make the world a coat, With cotton picked by me. I’d like to make the world a coat, And bring it harmony. The guest house is spun around by stage hands so the exposed interior is now visible to the audience. It‟s furnished with a small bed, table, chair, and spinning wheel. Maureen, who is also Negro, sits at the spinning wheel spinning cotton into coats. James Labron approaches with intrigue. James Excuse me, Ma‟am? Maureen

Why, James Labron! Come on in, baby! James You know me? Maureen I might as well the way my husband Jabari‟s been chattin‟ aboutcha! James You‟re Jabari‟s wife? Maureen Lawd, yes! Mrs. Maureen Jackson be my name, sweetheart, and I‟ve been married to that fool for nearly 8 long years now! James Well then, why aren‟t you out in the slave quarters? Or he in here with you? Maureen Ah, child, I be one of da more fortunate Negros on this here plantation. I am the personal seamstress to the lovely Miss Hannah, and while the title certainly carries its perks, it does separate us in the evening hours when I must retire to my guest house and he to the slave quarters. James You‟re Miss Hannah‟s seamstress? So you must know her then! Maureen Of course, baby! I see that sweet girl all de time, delivering her coats and all. James Oh, Maureen! I have had the honor of having gazed upon Miss Hannah through her bedroom window... Maureen Now dontcha tell me you been peepin‟ around out there... James Of course not! I have nothing but good intentions in my heart. She was an image of perfection. Maureen, is there any way... Maureen Say no more, baby. It‟s written all over yo sweet face! Young biracial love... so scandalous, and yet... so sweet! I will gladly help you meet Miss Hannah. James Oh, I can‟t thank you enough! Maureen Don‟t mention it. But, it will take quite a lot of work, child! The only way you‟re gonna meet Miss Hannah with a dark face like yours is to become a seamstress yourself! Grab those needles and some cotton; we need to make you a master coat maker! Small “plucks” from the orchestra accompany Maureen‟s opening lines to transition into her first number.

Maureen When all this cotton must be spun, I try to make it all good fun! You find that fun, And SNAP! It’s like a game! And every coat you try to make, Becomes a piece of cake! Just mark the seam... And cut it very clean! James Labron starts handing Maureen cotton as she begins spinning. Maureen Just... a... Thread through the needle Makes a petticoat or gown! A petticoat or gown! A petticoat or gown! Just a thread through the needle Makes a petticoat or gown! If you don’t mind looking gay! As Maureen continues her cheerful cotton spinning, bouncing in her chair with the melody, James Labron begins threading needles. From both sides of the stage, flocks of blue birds fly in pieces of fabric while several squirrels, a deer, and an ape head into the guest house to collect the fabric from the birds and assist James Labron in assembling a coat. They all bounce along with Maureen. Maureen You know a Negro in a mess Has very little time to rest, While picking all the cotton for to sew! But when the master’s got the whip, He’s got a very crafty trick! He knows A gown Will turn it all around! Company (Whistling a brief melody) Maureen Just... a... Thread through the needle Makes a petticoat or gown! A petticoat or gown! A petticoat or gown! Maureen Just a thread through the needle

Makes a petticoat or gown! If you don’t mind looking gay! As Maureen holds out her final note, James Labron, the squirrels, the ape, and the deer have their backs to the audience. Needles and thread fly from their sides. James steps back from a mannequin on which rests a stunning lady‟s coat. The deer and squirrels scurry off the stage. Applause Maureen approaches the ape. Maureen Oh, James! You are now... a master coatmaker! James Maureen, I‟m over this way. The ape runs off stage left as Maureen turns toward James. Maureen Sorry, baby. I never can tell us Negros apart. The orchestra hits a final note. The stage goes dark. The cast exits the stage. *** Scene: Montana Manor slave quarters/yard below Miss Hannah‟s bedroom window – The next morning The guest house‟s interior once again faces backstage. Miss Hannah enters from stage right. Hannah Maureen, oh Maureen! Maureen Right here, baby! Maureen enters from behind the guest house. Hannah My darling, Maureen, I received word that my new coat is ready. Maureen Oh, it is, child! And I must say it is the finest coat I‟ve ever seen. See, we got ourselves a prodigy seamstress and coat maker on this here plantation. Allow me to introduce the mighty-fine James Labron. James Labron enters from behind the guest house carrying Miss Hannah‟s new coat. Maureen steps into the shadows and disappears as Miss Hannah runs to James Labron and admires the coat. Hannah Oh goodness... it‟s beautiful... James Labron. James Labron holds out the coat. Miss Hannah places her hands on top. The winds and bass begin a soft instrumental.

James I feel you, Miss Hannah. I feel you. Could it be I’ve not awakened? I’m content to just have dreamed you. Please tell me that I’m mistaken, Miss Hannah. I’ll steal you, Miss Hannah! Hannah And so I say a prayer, James I’ll steal you! Hannah I know, one of a kind, James Even though your color’s blinding, I am only use to shadow. Hannah Will you make me your baby? James Still I’ll always walk beside you. Miss Hannah... Hannah Maybe... James Miss Hannah, I‟ve loved you since the moment I saw you. Hannah And I have always longed for the arrival of my dark prince. But our love is forbidden! The white folks will never understand. James Then run away with me! Hannah I couldn‟t! And where would we even go? Maureen reenters from the shadows.

Maureen

I know a place, child. There‟s been lots of talk in the slave community of an underground movement... a railroad. The conductor will be in town this night. He‟s taking escaped slaves to the north. James Hannah, this is our chance. We can finally be free. Hannah Both of us? But your skin... James Both of us, Hannah. My skin won‟t matter up north. Maureen, take Miss Hannah to her room and help her pack. Make sure no one sees you, do you understand? Maureen I understand. James Meet me in the fields within the hour, and we shall leave this place. Hannah Oh, James! I love you, James! James Go! Miss Hannah giggles and runs off stage right with Maureen. The stage lights go out. *** Scene: The fields of Montana Manor Jabari Jackson and the plantation slaves are in two rows resuming their cotton picking and hoeing. They chant: Plantation Workers She had them tacky cut-off jeans, And boots lined with fur. Negro One Lined with fur! Plantation Workers The whole field was lookin’ at her. She grabbed that hoe, Negro Two She grabbed that hoe! Plantation Workers Next thing ya know, Shawty got low, Lord, low, low, Low, low, low, low. Plantation Workers

The master came out, And he hit her with the straps Negro One With the straps! Plantation Workers He turned her ‘round and gave that big booty a whack! She grabbed that hoe, Negro Two She grabbed that hoe! Plantation Workers Next thing ya know, Shawty got low, Lord, low, low, Low, low, low, low. James Labron runs onstage from stage left. He grabs Jabari Jackson from the lines. James Jabari! I have finally met the beautiful Miss Hannah, and she flees with me within the hour! Jabari Wutchu talkin‟ bout, foo? James The conductor for the Underground Railroad is in town this night. We‟re going to escape to the north. Jabari... come with us! Jabari Oh, hail no! Betcha da po‟lease gonna be all up in dat! Underground ain‟t no place for a bruddah. James I have to risk it, James. My life is meaningless if I don‟t have Hannah. Miss Hannah and Maureen run on from stage right. Miss Hannah carries a suitcase. Hannah I‟m all packed. Mother and father are in bed for their afternoon nap. Now is our only chance! James We‟ll run through the field to the wood on the other side. Once we make it to the railroad, we‟ll be safe. Miss Hannah turns to Maureen and gives her a compassionate hug. Hannah Oh, Maureen. You‟ve been so good to me all these years. I will miss you so! Maureen I just hope you understand all you be givin‟ up, my child!

A flute and violin duet accompanies Miss Hannah. Hannah Maybe now it’s time! We’ll make the great escape. I’ll always be his sweet baby. Maybe. Maureen Oh, Miss Hannah. It‟s a... Negro wasteland! It’s just a Negro wasteland! Miss Hannah backs away as Maureen belts and extends her arm toward her. Maureen It’s a Negro wasteland! Yeah, yeah, yeah! Rappin’ Negro wasteland. You‟ll just get wasted! Hannah Goodbye, Maureen. Miss Hannah and James Labron exit stage left. Jabari Jackson looks after them with a thoughtful expression. Jabari That crazy foo is actually doing it. No Negro‟s ever „scaped a plantation befo‟. Jack Montana enters from stage right. Jack Maureen! What are you doing here in the fields? Don‟t you have cotton to spin? Maureen I‟m sorry, baby! I‟ll get to it right away. Maureen hurries off stage right. Jabari Jackson gets back in his line. Jack Role call! Antoine! Antoine Present, massuh. Jack D‟Marcus!

D’Marcus Present, massuh. Jack Jabari! Jabari Present, massuh. Jack Jamal! Jamal Present massuh. Jack James! There is a hush over the field. Jack James! One of the workers approaches Jack Montana. Jamal James runoft, massuh. He was with Miss Hannah, massuh. Jack What?! D’Marcus Yes, massuh. He take Miss Hannah and runoft. Jack Montana goes pale. Jack It was only a matter of time... with Hannah always sneaking down to the slave quarters and having a tar face as a seamstress. Sound the alarm! An alarm is heard across the plantation. Jack You are all excused from the field for the rest of the day. Your job now is to find James and bring him to me! The workers scatter. Jack Jabari! Jabari Jackson approaches Jack Montana.

Jack I put you solely in charge of James. I hold you personally responsible for any harm that comes to my darling Hannah. Jabari But, massuh, dis all be a overreaction. We coo‟. Jack You will NOT defy me as well. There will be a few lashings coming your way when we get this situation taken care of. Speak against me further, and it‟ll be more than a few! You, understand, boy? Jabari Yes, massuh. Jack Oh, my Hannah! Spirited away by a darkie... whatever shall I do!? Jack Montana exits stage right. The plantation workers assemble rear stage and go into a pause. The stage lights dim. A spotlight lands on Jabari. Jabari Mo‟ lashins. It‟s always mo‟ lashins. The flutes strike an introductory note. Jabari An that „foo ax‟d me to go wit „im. All dis time my life been dis plantation, man. But... could der be something mo‟? Jabari Something feels strange within me. I feel I’m not the same. I’m through with livin’ by the rules Of this plantation game. Too late for second guessin’. Too late to go back and pick. I need to trust I’m human. Show I have a dick! It’s time to try defying slavery! I think I’ll try defying slavery! And you can’t chain me down! The stage lights increase in intensity. The other plantation workers who have been watching move forward. Plantation Workers We don’t think you understand! These are delusions of grandeur! Jabari I’m though with picking cotton,

‘Cause someone says I must! Living life as an object, Because they think I look like rust. Too long I’ve been afraid of Losing limbs because I’m free. Well, bring their threats, ‘Cause they no longer bother me! The workers put down their hoes as the lights get brighter. Jabari It’s worth a try, defying slavery! Kiss me goodbye, I’m defying slavery! And you can’t chain me down! My bruddahs, stand wit me! Tink o‟ what we can do! Inhibited! We’ll drink till we’re Inhibited! Dreams the way we’ll have them, The whites, we will whack them! There’s no fight we cannot win! Company Just all of us defying slavery! With all of us defying slavery! They’ll never chain us down! Jabari (To the audience) So if you care to find us, Look to the northern skies! And I will tell you, baby, Company Everyone deserves to get real high! Jabari And as we cause a riot, Know that we’ll soon be free! To those who’d whip us, Take a message back from me! Company Tell them how we’re defying slavery! We’re getting high defying slavery! Jabari And nobody in all the south,

Spittin‟ hate from a whitey‟s mouth, Company Is ever gonna chain us down! The side of the Montana house is pushed on to right stage. Jack Montana is seen through the window speaking over a telephone. The orchestra continues. Jack John Smith, my friend! It seems we have a problem on my plantation. Company Chain us down! Jack Yes, it is James Labron, and he‟s taken Miss Hannah. I‟ll pay any price you ask, just find him! Jabari Ohaaaaahaaaaaah! The orchestra hits its final note. The stage goes dark. The curtain falls. ***

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