answer 2 questions and respond to two other students’ answers

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Your plus one!

This week we have spent some time with one of America’s preeminent female black playwrights and her play Pulitzer Prize winning play Topdog Underdog. From last week’s lesson you have also been researching and discussing other playwrights and their productions. All of the playwrights that you researched would be contemporaries of Susan Lori Parks. Your work has been really strong and the plays and playwrights you are writing about are terrific.

Strong work from all of you thus far this semester!!

So I thought that as we wrapped up our section on African American Theatre I would ask a slightly more personal question:

Reflecting on all of our work so far with rise and history of African American Theatre, its social, cultural and political issues that the genre wrestles with then and today, and the discoveries you have made over the last three weeks, how has your historical understanding, attitude, view, or feeling toward this kind of Theatre, T.V. and film changed or altered? Has it changed or altered? Why or why not?

And second, who would you take with you to watch a play like Topdog Underdog? Would you feel comfortable taking your parents, close friends or relatives? Why or why not? What about the play would be uncomfortable or thrilling? Do you think it would be a positive experience for you or them? Why or why not?

Start a thread and in subject put “(your full name) – Be sure to copy the questions above and post them with your answers!!! – Minimum 150 words – Use complete sentences and correct grammar.

Part 2: Your Comments: Read and respond to two other students’ answers. Make sure you are specific and identify who and what you are responding to.

Remember, your answer needs to be at least 150 words total and use proper English grammar and syntax, and you must reply to at least two other students’ posts.




first student answer: Narmata


Reflecting on all of our work so far with rise and history of African American Theatre, its social, cultural and political issues that the genre wrestles with then and today, and the discoveries you have made over the last three weeks, how has your historical understanding, attitude, view, or feeling toward this kind of Theatre, T.V. and film changed or altered? Has it changed or altered? Why or why not?

These past four weeks have been exceptionally informational for me. I never thought I would enjoy theater as much I am enjoying right now. I used to think that there are some African American writers and actors in theaters and Hollywood. But, what I did not know was that there are so many very talented artists, especially writers existing around us. I have grown more respect for these artists now as I saw the struggles they went through. I should say, I have probably built another lens that I will be looking through when I see an African American artist. One of the primary reasons for this is, besides taking this class, I am also taking race and relationships class. In that class, I got to learn how this community was able to overcome their struggles and ultimately made better lives for themselves. I would say that theater is an incredible way to spread a message in the community and to the world.

Who would you take with you to watch a play like Topdog Underdog? Would you feel comfortable taking your parents, close friends or relatives? Why or why not? What about the play would be uncomfortable or thrilling? Do you think it would be a positive experience for you or them? Why or why not?

I think I would take my husband with me to see this play. However, I would not feel comfortable taking my parents with me, because it has some very raw language used in it. It’s just that there is a layer of respect between us, probably due to the culture, where we don’t watch shows or movies together that are too explicit. On the contrary, I would be very excited to take my husband because I know he enjoys theater. Additionally, he would have a positive experience from it. Topdog Underdog has multiple messages to convey. In fact, the level of understanding and maturity plays a significant role in acquiring those messages. Hence, it would be interesting to see what he has to say about the play and its themes.

second student answer: Laila

How has your historical understanding, attitude, view, or feeling toward this kind of Theatre, T.V. and film changed or altered? Has it changed or altered? Why or why not?

My understanding of African American culture and representation has not been changed too much after this section, but that isn’t to say this content doesn’t offer perspective. I work in a fairly political environment and am exposed to several social justice issues. Consequently, these perspectives only reinforce what I understand about the inclusivity of this industry today. This section, in my opinion, is very valuable in presenting such information to people who may not be exposed to anything of a similar nature.

And second, who would you take with you to watch a play like Topdog Underdog? Would you feel comfortable taking your parents, close friends or relatives? Why or why not? What about the play would be uncomfortable or thrilling? Do you think it would be a positive experience for you or them? Why or why not?

I would probably take my friends to see a play like Topdog Underdog. Taking my parents or relatives wouldn’t be an issue in terms of comfort, but because they are not too keen on the idea of theater I would avoid it. I cannot see them appreciating the value of the art or perspective to the same extent they would if it came from a novel. I do maintain that they would respect and value the message. For myself, I think I enjoy the theater. It offers a more individual experience and perhaps more space to connect with the message on a personal basis.

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