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Lecture 1

THAR 201 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Ballroom Dance, Count Basie, White Privilege

Theatre Arts
Course Code
THAR 201
Greenwald Michael

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MASTER HAROLD…and the boys
Willie and Sam are two black men who take a break from their work to clean up the St. Georges Park
Tea Room to practice some dance steps
Sam is clearly the expert and gives Willie some pointers to improve his moves for a ballroom dancing
competition that they plan to enter run 2 weeks
Willie is sad because his partner Hilda quit practicing with him, after Willie gave her a beating, so Sam
and Willie argue over Hilda
Sam does some steps while Willie sings a Count Basie song
Hally (17 year old boy) comes home from school and greets Willie and Sam, cheers them on their dance
moves, Hally thinks they are ready for the contest and asks them how they feel about it
Sam tells Hally that Hally’s mom went to the hospital to see his Hally’s dad, so Hally wants to know if that
means his dad is leaving the hospital
Hally gets ready to eat lunch that Willie and Sam prepared for him, finds some comic books on the table
that were left for his Dad and calls them mental pollution
Hally is really worried about what his mother is doing at the hospital and tries to interrogate Sam about it
but Sam doesn’t know anything
Hally manages to convince himself that his dad did something stupid and that his mother just went to
help him out, Hally doesn’t want his dad to come home
Hally sits at the table to study and eat lunch, Sam looks at a doodle of Hally’s teacher Mr. Prentice and
Hally says that he got 6 swats for drawing it
Sam tells Hally what it’s like to be beaten by the police in jail, Hally says that he believes that social
reformers will change the world so that people won’t treat each other so badly, but Sam isn’t so sure
about this
Hally has hope in the world’s progress but still admits that it is a terrible place
Sam reads Hally’s math book, Hally thinks that he will fail math but he doesn’t think it matters because
he thinks that examination results don’t measure intelligence, Sam says that he says that whenever he
fails an exam
guys get into a discussion over which historical figures are ‘’men of magnitude’ and made a real
difference in the world
Sam suggests Napoleon but Hally disagrees b/c even though Napoleon was historically significant, he
didn’t reform society like Hally’s hero Charles Darwin
Sam doesn’t know how Darwin’s theory revolutionized science, which surprises Hally, and Sam doesn’t
buy it and says Abe Lincoln is a real man of magnitude
They go through a list of famous people—Tolstoy and Chirst, all with Hally being pretentious and a
scholar, they agree that Alexander Fleming is a man of magnitude
Sam and Hally reminiscence on studying and how they’ve motivated each other, Hally amazed at Sam
memory, remember how Hally competed against Sam for geography and they laugh
Hally and Willie and Sam reminiscence about their time at the Jubilee Boarding House, Willie pretends to
be Hallie’s mom searching for him when he was hiding in the servant’s quarters with Sam and Willie
Hally remembers the terrible tenants—soldiers, sailors, and prostitutes, can remember all the details and
sights and smells of the place, remembers walking in on Sam and his GF and how they had their walls
decorated with famous movie stars and boxers
Hally starts acting like a theater director, tells Sam and Willie what to do to recreate scene, fond
memories of hiding under the bed and cheating at checkers
Hally’s favorite memory: (makes Sam guess what it was), Sam was building something and wouldn’t tell
Hally what it was because it was a surprise, it was a kite and it was made out of old scraps that Sam had
lying around, it was held together with homemade glue and Hally was too embarrassed to carry it down
the street, he didn’t want anyone to see the kite fall down and to laugh at them, Hally and Sam went to fly
it then the kite somehow flew and both Sam and Hally felt very happy and wished everyone could see it,
Sam tied the kite to a bench and left him there to watch it
Hally says that it might have been strange to see a white boy w/ a black man old enough to be his dad
flying a kite, but it would have also been strange to be with his own father as his dad is crippled
Hally says that wished that Sam could have stayed with him on the bench but Sam had to go to work that
day, Hally wishes life was as simple as it was back then
phone rings and Sam answers it, Hally’s mom is calling from the hospital and says that she will bring his
dad home, Hally makes a stink and says that he’ll fail all his exams if he has to constantly take care of
his dad
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