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In her essay “Elements of Style,” Suzan-Lori Parks writes, “A playwright, as any

July 9, 2021
Dawn A. Orlowski

In her essay “Elements of Style,” Suzan-Lori Parks writes, “A playwright, as any other artist, should accept the bald fact that content determines form and form determines content.” After reading Parks’ essay and her play In the Blood, for your first discussion post this week, please offer your impression of one of the following aspects of form:
1) The doubling of the characters: As Parks explains in the brief Notes at the beginning of the play, it requires “a cast of six adult actors, five of whom double as adults and children.” You’ll see, for example, that the actor who plays Chili (Hester’s first lover) also plays Jabber (their child). How does the double casting influence your sense of the characters?
2) The time and place: Parks indicates that her play takes place “here” and “now.” How does this settting affect your vision of the play?
3) Stylistic notations: Parks employs several unconventional sylistic elements. One of these is what she calls “A spell.” This occurs when she lists the characters one after the other without dialogue. For example:
Reverend D.
Hester
Reverend D.
Hester
Parks describes “a spell” in the following terms, “This is a place where the figures experience their pure true simple state. While no action or stage business is necessary, directors should fill this moment as they best see fit.” Select a moment in the play where such “a spell” occurs and comment on how you understand its purpose in the scene and envision the interaction between the characters.
Another source to be used:
American Theatre Playscript “In The Blood” by Suzan Lori-Parks
-This file would not upload because of its size. I could send it over email if needed.

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