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Traveling Actors of the Nineteenth Century (Drama)

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Valerie Green

on 13 September 2012

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Transcript of Traveling Actors of the Nineteenth Century (Drama)

Nineteenth Century Traveling Actors Minstrels are performers that travel, in nineteenth century America their performances typically consisted of a racist act called Blackface. Minstrels History of American Minstrels Thomas Dartmouth "Daddy" Rice is the founder of American minstrelsy. His first performance was in 1828. During this act he posed as a slave named "Jim Crow." The costume he created for this consisted of the traditional Blackface mask, and tattered clothes. Come listen all you galls,
and boys,
I'se jist from Tuckyhoe,
I'm goin to sing a little song,
My name is Jim Crow,
Fist on de heel tap,
Den on the toe,
Ebry time I weel about,
En do jus so,
And every time I weel about,
I jump Jim Crow. Blackface and "Jump Jim Crow." Three Parts of Minstrelsy Edwin Christy created a Three-Part format for Minstrel shows A Blackface Minstrel show started with a sort of introduction. The minstrel cast would march onto stage, singing and dancing. This was known as a "walkaround," which had many variations, one being the Cakewalk. Former masters loved the cakewalk, not knowing it was created in reference to Black Slaves mimicking their master's arrogant movements. Part 1 Band:
Most members of the cast play instruments during this segment.

Brother Tambo and Brother Bones:
These two played instruments between songs, as well as their job of playing the Tambourine.

The Interlocutor:
A kind of narrator, spoke proudly, with big words, but polite in demeanor. Performers of Part 1 Considered a variety act, this part includes many performances, all of different natures.
Singers, dancers, comedians, and parodies of real theater are possible acts of "the olio." There is a Stump Speech to end Part Two in which a minstrel will use slang while trying to sound intelligent. Part 2 Gentleman be seated, we will commence with the overture
- The Interlocutor (Signaling Part 2 to begin) This part of Blackface features only one act; a play, which originally told a story of care-free life on the plantation. However, when Uncle Tom's Cabin changed this. With the popularity of Uncle Tom's Cabin rising minstrels changed Part 3 to an argument with a "benign slave." Part 3 Medicine shows were traveling performances that were taken seriously. They were meant to entertain consumers, while getting the idea of their "cure all" medicine across. Medicine Shows Minstrelsy in America Dies Out 1850-1870 was Blackface's peak, but every trend ends eventually. Minstrel songs stayed popular, and many people still saw African Americans with a racist eye, due to the shows they had seen, some schools still performed Blackface in there theatre. So Blackface didn't truly come to an end until the 1960s when African Americans gained more political power. Being a doctor was not a popular career choice in the Nineteenth century, so instead of going to doctors and getting specific medicine they went for the Cure Alls that were represented in Medicine Shows. There were some people that knew better than to trust the "Miracle Product," but even for the well-educated Medicine Shows were enjoyable and free entertainment. Why were medicine
shows popular? A Medicine Show included music, comedy, juggling, and arguments that represented their cure-alls in flashy ways. The Show The influence of medicine shows is still on TVs depicting the nineteenth century, but it has also influenced names for bands. "Snake Oil" (the name of a band) references Dr. Wilson's cure-all. Blackface masks could either
be made of material, or simply
make up. Influence The Traveling Circus The traveling circus is a mixture of exotic wonders, and unique performers rolled into one show. Joshuah Brown was the first to use a circus tent instead of wooden structures. His idea for this big piece of canvas was picked up by all the current circuses in just five years (1825-1830.) He then continued his circus by buying an elephant from a man named Hachaliah Bailey. This started a whole industry of Menagerie, a traveling zoo that trained and sold exotic animals for the circus. Founders of America's Circus Barnum ran Barnum's Museum, Menagerie, and Circus, alongside William Coup. Together they had created the museum (a display of oddities now known as The Sideshow) and were running what was currently the most popular Circus. P.T Barnum Barnum Pictures http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfiNT6AKG0s
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