Saturday, April 3, 2021

Play a Day: Uncle Remus, His Life and Times, As Told to Aaron Coleman

Aaron Coleman
For Saturday, I read Uncle Remus, His Life and Times, As Told to Aaron Coleman by Aaron Coleman and posted at New Play Exchange.

“Get someone to hear your tale!” 

Late in 2019 the You Must Remember This podcast did a six episode series on Disney’s Song of the South, breaking down not only the errors that were made in creating the film, but also the original history of the stories themselves -- as written down by white Southern journalist Joel Chandler Harris in 1881.

Not the first example of white appropriation of African heritage, and certainly not the last. I have wondered if the folk tales of Br’ers Rabbit, Bear, Fox and all the rest will or can ever be re-appropriated by African American artists and storytellers, and incorporated into our great storytelling tradition.

In this play, the playwright himself travels back in time to meet the real Uncle Remus -- of course, there was no “real” Uncle Remus, but through a wild and wily adventure the Aaron Coleman of the play discovers the truths concealed in the fiction, and an even more important truth about himself, in the end literally (in the literary sense) reclaiming the narrative for future generations.

Who should I read tomorrow?

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