Ma Rainey - Chris Mercer & Thang Nguyen Ma Rainey's Black...

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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom The setting of the play takes place during the year 1927 in Chicago at a recording studio. The main characters are as follows: Sturdyvant the studio owner , Irvine the band’s manager , Cutler guitar and trombone player , Toledo piano player , Slow Drag bass player , Levee trumpet player , Ma Rainey blues singer , Sylvester Ma Rainey’s nephew , Dussie Mae Ma Rainey’s companion . The play starts with Sturdyvant complaining to Irvine about how pretentious Ma Rainey was at their last recording session. This gives the reader a feeling that Sturdyvant does not respect Ma Rainey and Irvine is there to “keep her in line” like a dog or child. Cutler, Slow Drag, and Toledo arrive at the station and are greeted politely. You get a feeling that these guys have been in the music business for a while and know the routine well; they show up on time, do what you’re told, and leave with some cash. Levee, the younger band member, is late to arrive which gives the band an opportunity to harp on him. One of the band members, Toledo, views Levee as ignorant and puts blame on other black people like Levee for the continuance of the black’s oppression by the white man. While Levee may be part of the problem, old timers like Toledo also continue to perpetuate the white’s superiority by not taking any actions toward equality. The band’s open opinions of Levee become a constant issue throughout the play as he is constantly harassed and can never seem to get anything right. As the band is waiting for Ma Rainey to arrive at the recording studio, conversation unveils Levee’s true ambitions to leave the band and begin playing his own music through an unfinished deal with Sturdyvant. To keep them fresh with the current musical trends, Levee has been remaking Ma Rainey’s songs for Sturdyvant and
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composing a few originals for his new band. Levee’s ambitions come off as pompous to the other band members as they view music as a way of life, not a vessel to their improve lives. Ma Rainey finally arrives at the recording studio in the custody of a policeman with her nephew Sylvester and companion Dussie Mae. A car accident in town has delayed the party and blame has been placed on the nephew Sylvester. As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that the party has been held accountable for the accident due
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This note was uploaded on 05/09/2008 for the course THTR 1009 taught by Professor Lessley,me during the Spring '07 term at Colorado.

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Ma Rainey - Chris Mercer & Thang Nguyen Ma Rainey's Black...

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