Theses Master's

The Black Voice and Shaping Audacity

Page, Jeffrey Lamont

Throughout the course of the world history it has become very clear that the unrestrained black self is repugnant in the eyes of society, and as society demands that black culture strives for a more standardized aesthetic, theater can be used as a tool to educate and reshape these perceptions with a view to erasing reductions.

I’m interested in how the process of thought, by black people, shapes the content and form of speech patterns and therefore art creation. How does a Eurocentric aesthetic and process of thought differ from African-based ideologies, and furthermore become implicitly forced and therefore standardized within our society? In what ways are black people affected by the expectation and need to unnaturally contort our bodies, voices, narratives, and philosophies to fit within an alien structure, and what might be the benefits of acknowledging, and therefore appreciating, our inherent differences.

The state of being awake, whether literally or metaphorically, is the state of being aware of self. In this paper, I will further interpret the state of “being awake” to be active and attentively watchful of those entities that intend to reduce black development and self-actualization, and keep the black self in a spinning whirlwind of confusion, self-hate, lethargy, and self-doubt. I will also consider the position of self amongst a hostile and ever-changing environment that seeks to suppress and dehumanize in particular the black body.

As black people, we must be watchful to resist believing that our inherent truths are inferior as compared to the images that we see around us, and that our actual being—thinking and speaking—is unsatisfactory and unacceptable, and, therefore, lacking a worthy sense of beauty and sophistication. Moving through the world as a black person, in this way—maintaining and managing the many variations of self that is needed to be accepted into society, can be taxing on one’s soul and can blur the ideas of where one’s authentic truth should begin and end.

It is my intention in this paper to explore this dichotomy between the wider society’s negative perception of black people and culture together with the ensuing effects on their own lived reality through the medium of theater and using the plays Funnyhouse Of A Negro and The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World as prisms to spell out these ideas.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Bogart, Anne D.
Kulick, Brian H.
M.F.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 17, 2019


This is was successfully submitted on May 8, 2019, and revised on May 14, 2019.