Syndic Special Issue ~ “Election Day 2020” Cover
Syndic Literary Journal

Syndic Special Issue ~ Election Day 2020 “Variations On The Polis: V:”

VARIATIONS ON THE POLIS:

V:  THE ANTE-BELLUM AMERICAN SOUTH 

A Play in One Act 

By New York Playwright John Ladd

Narration By Roger Netzer

 

CHARACTERS

(In Order of Appearance) 

The Overseer

The African Slaves

The Master of the Plantation  

SETTING

            An open space on a plantation somewhere in the Deep South at some time before the Civil War. 

AT RISE

            The OVERSEER has gathered all of the plantation’s AFRICAN SLAVES into one place.  The stage is so crowded, that it is almost impossible for anyone to move.

            The OVERSEER stands at center, downstage in front of the AFRICAN SLAVES.

            Enter, from stage-left, THE MASTER OF THE PLANTATION.

THE MASTER OF THE PLANTATION

            Overseer, have you assembled everyone?

THE OVERSEER

            Yes sir, they’re all here.

 

THE MASTER OF THE PLANTATION

            That’s good, that’s good- we wouldn’t want anyone to be missing.

                        (pause, then loudly)

            Now, there are scoundrels up north who are agitating.

                        (pause)

           They are agitating against our way of life-

                        (pause)

            they are agitating against what we do and how we live-

                      (pause)

            they are agitating against slavery!

                        (pause)

            These troublemakers are called abolitionists!

                        (pause)

            They want to do away with slavery!  They want to set our slaves free!

                        (pause)

            And, so, I’ve decided to put it to a vote!

                     (pause)

            It’s very simple- there’s only one issue to consider-

                        (pause)

            -and the way you vote is by raising your arm.

                        (pause)

            I, then will count the votes- the arms- and announce- and honor, live by and be

            bound– to the decision.

                        (pause)

 

            Now- here’s the issue-

                        (pause)

            All those in favor of ending slavery and freeing the slaves, raise your arm!

                        [All of the AFRICAN SLAVES raise their arms.  The OVERSEER

                        does not.  THE MASTER OF THE PLANTATION pretends to count the votes.]

            All right.

                        (pause)

            Further- all those in favor of slavery for today, tomorrow- and for-ever– raise your arm!

                        [THE OVERSEER and THE MASTER OF THE PLANTATION

raise their arms.  THE MASTER OF THE PLANTATION smiles.]

            This has been a triumph of the democratic process- and- as such, I am pleased to

            say- to announce- that there has been a unanimous vote that slavery shall not

            perish from this part of God’s fine earth!

                        (pause, then in a seriously demanding tone)

 

            Now, get back to work- go on- get going- move- move- move- faster- move

            faster- get into those fields and start picking or I will bring down the wrath of God

            upon you like you’ve never seen before!

                        (pause)

            Now, git!

BLACKOUT 

CURTAIN 

END OF PLAY

 

 

 

 

Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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