In Dahomey (1902)

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In Dahomey (1902). Paul Lawrence Dunbar (lyrics) Jesse A. Shipp (book) Will Marion Cook (music) Part II of IV. Paul Lawrence Dunbar (1872-1906). The first African-American poet to garner national critical acclaim. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of In Dahomey (1902)

In Dahomey (1902)

In Dahomey (1902)Paul Lawrence Dunbar (lyrics)Jesse A. Shipp (book)Will Marion Cook (music)Part II of IV

Paul Lawrence Dunbar (1872-1906)

The first African-American poet to garner national critical acclaim. Dunbar penned a large body of dialect poems, standard English poems, essays, novels and short stories before he died at the age of 33. His work often addressed the difficulties encountered by members of his race and the efforts of African-Americans to achieve equality in America. He was praised both by the prominent literary critics of his time and his literary contemporaries. 4) Dunbar decided to publish a book of poems. Oak and Ivy, his first collection, was published in 1892. 5) In 1893, he was invited to recite at the World's Fair, where he met Frederick Douglass, the renowned abolitionist who rose from slavery to political and literary prominence in America. Douglass called Dunbar "the most promising young colored man in America." Dunbar's second book, Majors and Minors propelled him to national fame. In 1897, Dunbar traveled to England to recite his works on the London literary circuit. In 1902, Dunbar and his wife separated. He ultimately produced 12 books of poetry, four books of short stories, a play and five novels. His work appeared in Harper's Weekly, the Sunday Evening Post, the Denver Post, Current Literature and a number of other magazines and journals.

2Will Marion Cook (1869-1944)1) The first great African-American composer for the musical stage. 2) Trained at the Oberlin Conservatory, the National Conservatory of Music in New York under Anton Dvorak and in Berlin, Germany at Hochschule fur Musik. 3) IN 1890, he begins to compose that drew on the idioms and themes of African-American folklore and music. 4) Throughout the 1890s and 1900s, he composed for the stage shows of Bert Williams, the leading black comic and vaudevillian. I5) In 1889 Cook produced and wrote the music for Clorindy, the Origin of the Cakewalk. This debut in the theater world was a series of skits. The skits were written in an hour-long session between Cook and the celebrated African American dialect poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar. It was the first musical comedy written, directed, and performed entirely by African-American artists. The show opened at the Casino Theater Roof Garden in New York to rave reviews and enjoyed success on Broadway and in London. The beauty of the lead dancer Ada Overton Walker prompted the cakewalk dance craze among even the high-society of New York.6) Named Composer-in-Chief and Musical Director for William Walker's Broadway shows. He went on to compose the music for a number of popular black musicals, including In Dahomey (1903) 7) Cook composed Abyssinia in 1906, but his reliance on ragtime left him behind the changing tastes. He led his Southern Syncopated Orchestra, a huge ragtime and concert ensemble, and composed "I'm Coming, Virginia" and "Mammy" in the 1910s.8) His last European tour by his orchestra was in 1919. It was then that critics noted that he had developed an emerging jazz style

3Jesse Shipp Writer, Director, Lyricist

ON BROADWAYProductions DatesofProduction Kilpatrick's Old-Time Minstrels [Original, Musical, Minstrel]Staged by Jesse A. ShippApr19,1930-Apr26,1930 The Green Pastures [Original, Play, Play with music]Performer: Jesse A. Shipp [Abraham]; Performer: Jesse A. Shipp [Archangel]Feb26,1930-Aug29,1931 Mr. Lode of Koal [Original, Musical]Book by Jesse A. Shipp; Lyrics by Jesse A. ShippNov1,1909-Dec4,1909 Bandanna Land [Original, Musical, Comedy]Starring: Jesse A. Shipp [Mose Blackstone]; Staged by Jesse A. Shipp; Book by Jesse A. Shipp; Lyrics by Jesse A. ShippFeb3,1908-Apr18,1908 Abyssinia [Original, Musical, Comedy]Performer: Jesse A. Shipp [The Affa Negus Tegulet]; Staged by Jesse A. Shipp; Dahomey [Original, Musical, Farce]Performer: Jesse A. Shipp [Hustling Charley]; Book by Jesse A. ShippFeb18,1903-Apr4,1903 Sons of Ham [Revival, Musical, Comedy]Performer: Jesse A. Shipp [Professor Switchen]; Staged by Jesse A. Shipp; Book by Jesse A. ShippApr29,1901-May4,The Policy Players [Original, Musical, Comedy, Farce]Directed by Jesse A. ShippOct16,1899-Apr9,1900

4Williams and Walker:A More Sophisticated Black Theatre?George Walker and Egbert Austin Williams were a vaudeville comedy team and had one of the most renowned and successful stage partnerships in American theatrical history. They decided to team up when they met in San Francisco in the early 1890's. Williams and Walker pioneered a new kind of "Black" humor and eventually developed their own company. With musical shows such as "Clorindy, the Origin of the Cakewalk," "Sons of Ham," and "In Dahomey," they opened the door for other African-American actors, singers, dancers, and musicians, and sought to redefine the boundaries of Black Theater.

5In DahomeyMinstrelsy


Popular Art


Musical Comedy/ Light Opera

Farce designed to Lampoon Repatriation as a solution to the Race Problem

6The History of the Minstrel Show

1769- Lewis Hallman performs is blackface in the play The Padlock 1769-1843- Performers of so-called Negro Music increasingly use blackface in their performances and are dubbed minstrels1843- The Virginia Minstrels perform at the New York Bowery Ampitheatre1843- E.P. Christy founds the Christy Minstrels, who establish the template for minstrel show for the next three decades1843-1865- The rise of minstrelsy coincides with the growing abolitionist movement in the U.S., and isoften used as propaganda to promote the image of the contented slave1860s- Blackface begins to serve as a sort of fools mask, allowing the performers to lampoon virtually anything without offending the audience. 1860s- The minstrel show increasingly becomes associated with social criticism during the Civil War, advocating for abolition, womens rights, and temperance. Black performers begin to use blackface1890s- Vaudeville gradually replaces minstrelsy as Americas favorite genre of theatrical comedy

7The Structure of the Minstrel Show

PART 1- The entire troupe danced onto stage singing a popular song. Upon the instruction of the interlocutor, a sort of host, they sat in a semicircle. Various stock characters always took the same positions: the genteel interlocutor in the middle, flanked by Tambo and Bones, who served as the endmen or cornermen. The interlocutor acted as a master of ceremonies and as a dignified, if pompous, straight man while the endmen exchanged jokes and performed a variety of humorous songs. Over time, the first act came to include maudlin numbers not always in dialect. One minstrel, usually a tenor, came to specialize in this part; such singers often became celebrities, especially with women. Initially, an upbeat plantation song and dance ended the act; later it was more common for the first act to end with a walkaround, including dances in the style of a cakewalk

PART 2- The olio- had of a variety show structure. Performers danced, played instruments, did acrobatics, and demonstrated other amusing talents. Troupes offered parodies of European-style entertainments, and European troupes themselves sometimes performed.

PART 3/FINALE- Uusually one actor, typically one of the endmen , delivered a faux-black-dialect stump speech, a long oration about anything from nonsense to science, society, or politics, during which the dim-witted character tried to speak eloquently, only to deliver countless malapropisms, jokes, and unintentional puns. All the while, the speaker moved about like a clown, standing on his head and almost always falling off his stump at some point. With blackface makeup serving as fools mask, these stump speakers could deliver biting social criticism without offending the audience, although the focus was usually on sending up unpopular issues and making fun of blacks' ability to make sense of them. 8

Minstrelsy and the Race Problem:A Complex Con

Act 1 (Public Square with a house doorway. Above the door is a sign: "Intelligence Office." A crowd is assembled around a medicine show pitchman. Applause at rise of curtain. A banjo player acts as an interlocutor as Tambo, and Bones tell one or two jokes. The banjoist sings a song. Dr. Straight, the pitchman, addresses the crowd.) [...]DR. STRAIGHT Wait, wait, wait, this is not all. I have another preparation, Oblicuticus, "Obli" -- in this case, being an abbreviation of the word "obliterate." "Cuti" -- taken from the word "cuticle," the outer skin, and "cuss" is what everybody does when the desired results are not obtained, but there is no such word as "fail." This wonderful face bleach removes the outer skin and leaves in its place a peachlike complexion that can't be duplicated -- even by peaches. Changing black to white and vice versa. I am going to spend only one day in your city, but I am going to convince you by exhibiting a living evidence of my assertions that these two grand preparations Straightaline and Oblicuticus are the most wonderful discovery of modern times.

9American Colonization SocietyIn 1822, the American Colonization Society (A.C.S.) which was the primary vehicle for returning black Americans to greater freedom in Africa, established Liberia as a place to send people who were formerly enslaved. This movement of black people by the A.C.S. had broad support nationwide among white people in America, including prominent leaders such as Henry Clay and James Monroe, who saw this as preferable to emancipation in America, with Clay believing "unconquerable prejudice resulting from their color, they never could amalgamate with the free whites of this country".

STAMPFIELD You shouldn't let trifles annoy you. I'll dare say you'll find the population of Dahomey quite as much a source of annoyance as the colored populatio