“kind of pain that comes from feeling no pain at all.” What does that phrase mean to you?

Roles in Theater: Dramaturgs and Dramaturgy, Part 2
Script: The Colored Museum by George C. Wolfe
Purpose: Read a play and then respond thoughtfully to its themes, images and style.

Step 1: Read The Colored Museum by George C. Wolfe: see uploaded Reading-the colored museum
Step 2: Respond thoughtfully to the following questions. Use evidence from the text to support your answers.
What images of slavery does Miss Pat allude to in “Git on Board”? What other images of black culture does Miss Pat also refer to? According to Miss Pat, what good comes from the suffering of black people?
What are the ingredients of Aunt Ethel’s “Batch of Negroes”?
In “The Photo Session,” the Girl talks about the “kind of pain that comes from feeling no pain at all.” What does that phrase mean to you? How does it relate to the existence of the Guy and Girl?
What is the secret of pain that the Soldier possesses?
Miss Roj says: “…this ain’t no party going on. Hell no! It’s a wake. And the casket’s made out of stone, steel, and glass and the people are racing all over the pavement like maggots on a dead piece of meat.” What is the “wake” that Miss Roj is referring to? What does the casket represent?
What does “The Hairpiece” scene tell us about black beauty?
Identify all of the characters in “The Last Mama-on-the-Couch Play” and describe them. What does each character represents? (Note: we will spend more time on this scene in our next class)
What is Lala’s secret? In other words, what is she hiding from?
What is Topsy celebrating?

As you read The Colored Museum, make sure that you spend sufficient time on the stage directions as they are crucial to your ability to “picture” the play in your mind. Wolfe’s play was first produced in 1986 and through a series of 11 “exhibits” unpacks the legacy of African Americans. Wolfe describes this play an “exorcism and a party”—startling yet telling words that are helpful to keep in mind as you read. This script is not so much a musical but a play with music, so keep this in mind as you read through each of the scenes. Wolfe’s script is also an example of satire, so be aware of how that affects you as a reader.

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