The America Play

by

Suzan-Lori Parks

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The Great Hole of History

The America Play is mysteriously set in “an exact replica of The Great Hole of History.” The audience quickly learns that the Foundling Father decided to dig this “exact replica” to perform his Lincoln assassination…

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The Bust and Pasteboard Cutout of Lincoln

Throughout Act One, the Foundling Father periodically interrupts his monologue to acknowledge two idols he has brought onstage: a bust and a pasteboard cutout of Abraham Lincoln. The Foundling Father announces, and then performs…

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The Lincoln Beards

When he first addresses the audience in Act One, the Foundling Father carries a box of beards with him. these are, of course, the beards for his Abraham Lincoln act, which range from a stunning…

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The Wonders

Parks knows that one person’s trash is another’s treasure, and she illustrates this dynamic by having Brazil dig up many of the Foundling Father’s “faux-historical knickknacks” in Act Two and then make a “Hall…

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Echoes

The America Play is full of echoes—besides the Whispers that Lucy searches for all around the replica of the Great Hole of History with her ear trumpet, the most important is doubtlessly the “gunshot…

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Whispers

While Brazil spends Act Two digging for Wonders, Lucy spends it listening for the Foundling Father’s “Whispers” through her ear trumpet. These “Whispers,” which are the echoes of “thuh Disembodied Voice,” represent…

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The “Gnash”

As a professional mourner, Brazil knows how to rile up a funeral crowd and help people process loved ones’ deaths through techniques like “the Weep,” “the Sob,” and “the Moan.” In fact, the Foundling Father

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