Suzan-Lori Parks

As I began to look over the reading that we did together in class on Friday, there were several parts I found myself drawn to that either related to something else we have done thus far in the course or in my own personal life and experiences. The first quote that I really paid attention to was, “the last thing American theatre needs is another lame play” (Parks, 7). Reading this made me think back to my high school English classes and the emphasis that they put on plays and theatre. I remember reading an array of “outside the norm” novels throughout, but when it came to the theater portion, we did the stereotypical thing and read a Shakespeare play for every year of high school.
The quote from Parks also made me think about the course epigraph, “Black literature is taught as sociology, as tolerance, not as a serious, rigorous art form.”–Toni Morrison, from a 1989 interview with Bonnie Angelo. Just as Morrison sees that black literature is (possibly) just another chapter that the sociology professors feel they have to get through, that is how theater felt for me throughout high school. Shakespeare was just another unit that we had to get through so that we could take the standardized test and move on with our lives. So personally, I think that the very thing American theatre needs is more lame plays. Maybe it will stop teachers from teaching the same play year after year and will bring some enthusiasm back into the classroom.
Another section of the text that stood out to me this week was on page fifteen of Suzan-Lori Park’s book, “dance If you’re one who writes sitting down, once before you die try dancing around as you write. It’s the old world way of getting to the deep shit” (Parks, 15). As I was writing a research paper for a class I am taking with Professor Gillin, I had this running through the back of my mind. I was not tempted to get up and start dancing around the floor lounge or my dorm room, but I did find that when I hit a “wall” that when I moved to a different part of the floor that I was more focused and I suddenly was able to write.
The last piece that stood out to me was again from page fifteen, “laughter is very powerful– it’s not a way of escaping anything but a way of arriving on the scene” (Parks, 15). There were many things that happened in my life this week, where I felt as though the only response (other than crying) was to just bust out laughing. I found that when I did this it kind of was like “oh my God this is really happening”. It made me realize that maybe the people that are laughing all the time are not always happy but are indeed masking the pain, such as smiling while running as Sean pointed out in class.

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