After reading both Djanet Sears’ Harlem Duet and Sears’ essay “nOTES oF a cOLOUREDgIRL: 32 sHORT rEASONS wHY i wRITE fOR tHE tHEATRE”, answer each of the following questions in formal, written paragraphs.
1. When and where does the action of Harlem Duet take place? Discuss the significance of Sears’ choices re. the setting of this play.
2. Articulate a response to Sears’ essay, “nOTES oF a cOLOURED gIRL: 32 sHORT rEASONS wHY i wRITE fOR tHE tHEATRE” (written in 1997 as the original introduction to the published script). You may choose any aspect(s) of the essay to respond to. You may ask questions, make connections (to your experience, to your knowledge, and, of course, to the play), or describe what/how it made you think or feel. The main thing is to clearly articulate your close and thoughtful engagement with one or more of the ideas in this essay.
3. Sears has describes Harlem Duet as “an effort to exorcise [the] ghost” of Shakespeare’s most well-known Black character, Othello. Share your thoughts on the relationship between Harlem Duet and Shakespeare’s play, Othello. If you are unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s play, that is completely okay; in that case, I invite you to reflect on: any details in the play that helped you make sense of the connection to Shakespeare; any questions or points of confusion that arose for you about the adaptation; and/or whether you think Harlem Duet works as a play even without the Shakespeare connection.
Both documents required for the question are attached below.