By Constantin Stanislavski
First released in 1989. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.
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Additional info for Building A Character
Stage adaptations of Uncle Tom’s Cabin were some of the ﬁrst plays that popularized this type of heroine. They included the story of the fair-skinned Eliza and George Harris, as well as the tragedies of Cassy and Emmeline. Of the three different types of black female characters that Stowe presents, the tragic mulatto ﬁgures were the most intelligent and the most sympathetic. Through these ﬁgures, she demonstrates the cost of slavery to the institution of motherhood. 22 Although Stowe uses the term mother without qualiﬁcation as though to indicate all slave mothers, in the novel she highlights the separation stories of only the fairer-skinned characters: Cassy, Eliza, Emmeline.
Eva ﬁrst hugs and kisses her mother, who complains that she is ill; Eva then hurries into the arms of Mammy. Here, we see the elements of the mammy myth come into focus. This character, like Tom, served ﬁrst the parent, Marie St. Clare, and then grew to love the child, Eva. Eva, like young George Shelby, understands the value of a loyal servant even when her mother does not. Marie complains that Mammy does not show proper devotion to her: If Mammy felt the interest in me she ought to, she’d wake easier—ofcourse she could.
This book afﬁrms the power of theater to act as a cultural force within and as a social barometer of African American experiences. Analyzing African American performance traditions offers us insight into how blackness has been produced and even performed as the device of race is continually reconstructed and redeﬁned within the theater. notes 1. Nineteenth-century theories of polygenism proposed that geographicalorigins and biological inheritance determined racial categories. Using pseudoscientiﬁc and biased methodology, authorities on “craniometry” claimed a clear relationship between the size of human skulls and the shape of human brains and, as a consequence, racial difference.
Building A Character by Constantin Stanislavski