The Purple Flower Essay

Marita Bonner
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In general, student essays reflecting on their experience confirmed Margaret Wilkerson's suggestion that "the theater offers a unique opportunity to step into the space of other individuals and other experiences-with safety". Wilkerson observes that Critics "outside or on the perimeters of [black] cultural experience" often "discuss black theater as if it were unrelated to their own lives". The same could be said of white students (and faculty), who often view race as attaching to others but not to themselves. For white students, participating in an interracial production that demands self-reflection may do more to interrupt this tendency than viewing African American drama "from the outside." The Purple Flower's accessibility to white performers-who can play either White Devils or light-skinned Us's-makes it particularly useful in predominantly white institutions, where white directors sometimes hesitate to direct African American plays focused unambiguously on "the black experience," and black and white students...

(read more from the Critical Essay #5 section)

This section contains 1,588 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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Drama for Students
The Purple Flower from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.