Howdy! Welcome back to Unknown Playwrights and Monologue Monday.
I hope everyone is well during this Coronapocalypse. This week we’ll be looking at the character of Becker in August Wilson’s Jitney.
“Regular taxi cabs will not travel to the Pittsburgh Hill District of the 1970s, and so the residents turn to jitneys—unofficial, unlicensed taxi cabs—that operate in the community. This play portrays the lives of the jitney drivers at the station owned by Jim Becker.”
- Jim Becker, the well-respected manager of the jitney station. In his 60s.
A good role for a senior actor, that’s for sure. In a previous post we covered Jitney more in-depth and also profiled Rena’s monologue.
One reason we’re covering this monologue this week, is that the Los Angeles cops totally handcuffed an actor for doing the monologue. His video will appear at the end.
Let’s take a minute and talk about how this Covid-19 and the resulting quarantine has hurt people of color the most in the US.
First, it kills them way more than white folks:
Here’s a couple links about why that is the case.
In addition to built-in societal and health service shortcomings, there’s the police. Most of America is under some sort of quarantine order. Wearing masks are required in some places or encouraged in others.
Presumably faced with a dearth of real crimes, police all across America must find other ways to take out their superior attitude on the civilian populace.
God forbid these cops have to fight real crimes or investigate something. The city of Wood River is soooo f*cked.
These gentlemen were harassed for wearing a mask. But what happens when you DO wear a mask? Don’t worry we have video of that, too courtesy of the Philadelphia cops:
The news person says three police officers, but they were backed up by a bunch more.
African Americans aren’t the only ones to bear the brunt of America’s stupidity. Asian Americans have caught their fair share.
Here a Chinese American doctor talks about what it’s like to save people’s lives while folks are busting your mom’s windshield.
There’s enough racism for another video…
Back to the play….
Becker has a monologue where he berates his son, for being a murderer and such…and not beng around when his mom died:
I was there! I was holding her hand when she died. Where was you? Locked up in a cage like some animal. That’s what killed her. To hear the judge say that the life she brought in the world was unfit to live. That you be “remanded to the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections at Western State Penitentiary and there to be executed in the electric chair. This order to be carried out thirty days from today.” Ain’t that what the judge said? Ain’t that what she heard? ‘This order to be carried out thirty days from today.’ That’s what killed her. She didn’t want to live them thirty days. She didn’t want to be alive to hear on the eleven o’clock news that they had killed you. So don’t you say nothing to me about turning my back when I nursed that woman, talked to her, held her hand, prayed over her and the last words to come out of her mouth was your name. I was there! Where were you Mr. Murderer? Mr. Unfit To Live Amongst Society. Where were you when your mama was dying and calling your name? (Stops talking a moment to gather himself.) You are my son. I helped to bring you into this world. But from this moment on…I’m calling the deal off. You ain’t nothing to me, boy. You just another nigger on the street.
Now we come to the video portion of our monologue.
Last, but not least, with some improvisation from LA’s finest method actors, here’s Tyree Freely’s monologue:
Everyone please stay safe during this awful time and love your neighbor.
We will see you soon.