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Ma Raineys Black Bottom - Beth White English 131 Society...

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Beth White English 131 – Society and Literature February 11, 2011 Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Set in a seedy recording studio in jazz-age Chicago, the play centers on the ensemble of musicians in the band of the great blues singer, waiting for the diva to appear for a recording session for a (of course) white record company. Ma is late and the musicians schmooze, small talk, debate and bicker as they tune up. They are a motley, amiable crew of veterans with one wild card: the abrasive, contentious trumpet player who has dreams of leading his own group playing his own songs, living the high life. Early on, we see that there is trouble ahead. When Ma finally arrives, nephew and girl friend in tow, matters of repertory and Ma's insistence on allowing her stuttering nephew to introduce the double-entendre title song, disrupt and delay the recording. The theme of dispossession is articulated by Toledo, the piano player in the band: "We's the leftovers. The white man . . . done the eating and he know what he done ate. But we don't know that we been took and made history out of."
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