Uppa Creek, an Anachronistic Parody in the Minstrel Tradition. It was originally written as a commission on a Kara Walker piece, "A Means to an End...A Shadow Drama in Five Acts" by the RISD Museum in 1999. The play has subsequently been produced at Brown University's Rites and Reason Theatre, Zoo District in Los Angeles and Dixon Place in New York City. Through the New York Production the piece was considered for an 47th annual Obie Award in 2002. The piece is a full length play running just over fifty minutes.
Part I: “A change in hams-- I mean hands !”ol’ Negress
If the Massa should say jump-Massa
You say-Young Negress
Oh, I should say that the four inches or so you have covered will be fine.....for now.(enter Li’l Massa)
Mammy? I say Mammy? What you say about giving over them goods, huh? What ya say ‘bout satisfyin’ this awful canakerin’ I got down in my tummy? What ya say you hand me over one of dem teets of yourn?
(to Young Negress)
I ‘spect you heard of the old sayin’ “pass the buck”. Li'l Massa, how would you like a fresh piece- uh, I mean a new mammy to gnaw on?li’l Massa
Funny you should mention it, Mammy. I was just ‘markin’ to my mother-salt of the earth-ivory towered Ms. Anne with the patience of Ruth, always too busy at plottin' to catch house niggas in the act of stealing’ biscuits than to worry about the plight of her own flesh and blood- frigid cold- nonsexed-stuck on her pedestal, but a better woman than you will ever be-ol’ Negress
Uh huh.li’l Massa
Just ‘markin to her the other day that now that I’m gettin’ older on it won’t do for the Massa’s son to be botherin’ with some ol’ Negress with deflated bosom and thin milk.ol’ Negress
Tha’s right.li’l Massa
My father has fresh meat, why can’t I?ol’ Negress
Good question.li’l Massa
So mammy, who’d you have in mind?
(ol’ Negress presents Young Negress)
(falling to his knees, embraces Young Negress’ breasts)
Speak not another word woman for you are happily replaced!
Part II: “Bitch’s Brew”
(mixing over boiling cup)
The potion is almos’ right. A pinch a calamine with a dash of salt peter and we be all right. Gotta have this ready for the next --hmph-- feedin’. Gots to make sure all’s in perfect disray fo’ I stray the hell on outta here (laughs) My ship- well my taxi’s comin’ in soon. Tou-Tou- my revolutionary comrade and lover in arms, I’m spectin' yo’ fax later in dis day. Short and cryptic, he say. Better be. Last time he got through, faxed me a damn manifesto. I fax ‘em back, “Baby, short and cryptic is da direc’ opposite of long and specific! Stick wit da plan! A time and day in short code.” (places mixture in microwave and punches start) Course it be simpler to feed it to him directly but I ‘spect I got the constitution to handle my own brew. And while they’re bawling over their dead boy, I’ll be burrowing away to freedom! Thank you Jesus!
(calling offstage and entering on his knees ala Al Jolson)
(Young Negress ignores him and continues to add to her potion)
Mammy! Feed me Mammy!
Be wicha in a moment Li’l Massa. Just gotta take my nourishment. Cain’t milk the cow unless the teet is full.
I’ll milk ya Mammy!
I know you will you little degeneratin’, lip smackin’......
Ms. Anne/voice off
Girl! I say Girl!
(Enter Ms. Anne with li’l Annie. Li’l Annie mimics her mother in every gesture and move)
What time is it? I say what time is it, girl?
(playing the dumb role)
Why missus, judgin’ by the set of the sun which is hotter than hell, by the way, and the (She licks the the tip of her forefinger and holds it up to the wind) speed of the wind travellin’ at ....oh, I say ‘bout zero point one felosophy it must be around noon.
You stupid girl! It is one on the o’clock. What does that tell you, hmn?
Besides that it’s one o’clock?
It should tell you that it’s tea time you duplicitous imp. Where is my tea-
How many times do we need to go over this, you incompetent chit. You are nothing like ol’ Mammy, that is for sure. You lack her obsequiousness, her lily spine, and her strong back for Work! Work! Work! No questions. No comments. When I say I want tea on the verandah at one, girl, I don’t mean one fifteen, one o five, or even one o one. I mean one sharp. Sharp! Sharp! Sharp! You got that! You striplinged dunce?
So where is it?
(the micrawave DINGS!)
(a moments hesitation)
Well, it best be enough for two. Young Missy Anne is joinin’ her mother this afternoon like a real high on the horse shit don’t stink southern belle, prettier and better than you will ever be. Once she is safely wedded and bedded to a future member of our fine southern stock she will gladly be a progenitor for the race by bearing her husband at least two fine blond blue eyed blue blooded cause we say so brats who will grow up to continue the oppression of your little nappy headed comquats! You got that?
Yes’m, I do. (Pouring potion into tea pot) So sorry I’m runnin’ behind this afternoon. I declare, I’ve made enough tea for two if not three. Nothin’ finer ‘ol’ massa say than acts of true gentility bred into the south's finest. (in Massa’s voice) “Why if women of the south drink tea out of the finest porcelain on the finest plantation porches why so too should our men folk- once in a while. For nothin’ is a better sight to see than southern white men and women confabulating in genteel manner and regal posture as to set an example to slovenly white trash and nigger alike that they can only aspire and never achieve our cherished status as God’s chosen people doomed to reign over them always”.
Master really said that, you mimicking mince?
Yes’m, he did. I oughta know. Why it was just after supper last night in my quarters, just after I had snatched off his boots and shuck his pants-
That’s enough you Jezebelled wench! It does sound perfectly sound to me. The first part, I mean. You say you have enough tea for three, huh? Well, three it shall be. Come along little John. Today you shall forego your afternoon feeding and sit on the goddamned verandah and drink liquid out of a cup for a change.
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