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Goin'a Buffalo


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Ed Bullins (b. 1935)

 

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A: Ed Bullins Pf: 1968, New York Pb: 1969 G: Drama in 3 acts S: Curt's apartment and strip club, Los Angeles, early 1960s C: 10m, 2f, extrasCurt and Rich, two blacks in their twenties, are playing chess and being served beers by Curt's attractive, long-suffering wife Pandora, when they are visited by Art Garrison, a quiet thoughtful young black, who saved Curt's life in the county jail during a riot between white and black prisoners. Curt is planning a job which will pay for them all to go to Buffalo and begin a new life, and Art is persuaded to join them. Pandora and her white friend Mamma Too Tight, who has to feed her drug habit, leave to go to work as hookers in a local club. At the club, Art and Mamma get close, and Mamma's pimp Shaky comes and threatens her. Deeny, the club owner, then arrives from a meeting with the union and announces that he is closing the club. When he refuses to pay any wages, a fight breaks out, in which Curt is injured and Shaky knocked unconscious. Curt, Pandora, Mamma, and Art escape just as the police arrive. Three days later, Curt plans to raise bail for Shaky, who has been jailed for possession, by selling Shaky's heroin. Then they will all leave for Buffalo. Art, who has secretly fallen in love with Pandora, betrays Curt's heroin deal to the police, and then leaves town with Pandora – to go to Buffalo.

A: Ed Bullins Pf: 1968, New York Pb: 1969 G: Drama in 3 acts S: Curt's apartment and strip club, Los Angeles, early 1960s C: 10m, 2f, extras

Although Bullins has been a militant black activist, becoming minister of culture with the Black Panthers, Goin'a Buffalo does not contain an obvious political message; it is ‘theatre of reality’ from which we may derive our own insights into the lives of some unspectacular African-Americans. Like Chekhov's three sisters yearning for Moscow, the characters dream of escape to Buffalo, but we know that life for blacks will be little different there: ‘It's cats like you and your boss who make us all the time have to act like thugs, pimps and leeches to just make it out here in the world.’

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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