One of the few books of its kind, Acting Up and Getting Down brings together seven African American literary voices that all have a connection to the Lone Star state. Covering Texas themes and universal ones, this collection showcases often-overlooked literary talents to bring to life inspiring facets of black theatre history.
Capturing the intensity of racial violence in Texas, from the Battle of San Jacinto to a World War I-era riot at a Houston training ground, Celeste Bedford Walker's Camp Logan and Ted Shine's Ancestors provide fascinating narratives through the lens of history. Thomas Meloncon's Johnny B. Goode and George Hawkins's Br'er Rabbit explore the cultural legacies of blues music and folktales. Three unflinching dramas (Sterling Houston's Driving Wheel, Eugene Lee's Killingsworth, and Elizabeth Brown-Guillory's When the Ancestors Call) examine homosexuality, a death in the family, and child abuse, bringing to light the private tensions of intersections between the individual and the community.
Supplemented by a chronology of black literary milestones as well as a playwrights' canon, Acting Up and Getting Down puts the spotlight on creative achievements that have for too long been excluded from Texas letters. The resulting anthology not only provides new insight into a regional experience but also completes the American story as told onstage.
Sandra Mayo is Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Theatre and Dance and Associate Professor of Theatre at Texas State University. Elvin Holt is a professor of English at Texas State University.
Acknowledgments Introduction: Definition of Black Theatre Camp Logan Celeste Bedford Walker Johnny B. Goode Thomas Meloncon Killingsworth Eugene Lee Driving Wheel Sterling Houston Br'er Rabbit Adapted by George Hawkins When the Ancestors Call Elizabeth Brown-Guillory Ancestors Ted Shine Appendix A Chronology Appendix B Playwrights' Canon Publications That Include Plays by Black Texas Playwrights Editor Biographies