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August Wilson

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tired of all them changes I was putting her through.

(Pause.) I always knew you was gonna make something out yourself. Your head was always in the right direction. So . . . you gonna stay in . . . make
it a career ... put in your twenty years?

CORY I don’t know. I got six already, I think that's enough.

LYONS Stick with Uncle Sam and retire early. Ain't nothing out here. I guess Rose told you what happened with me. They got me down the
workhouse. I thought I was being slick cashing other people's checks.

CORY How much time you doing?

LYONS They give me three years. I got that beat now. I ain’t got but nine more months. It ain’t so bad. You learn to deal with it like anything else.
You got to take the crookeds with the straights. That’s what Papa used to say. He used to say that when he struck out. I seen him strike out three
times in a row . . . and the next time up he hit the ball over the grandstand. Right out there in Homestead Field. He wasn't satisfied hitting in the seats
... he want to hit it over everything! After the game he had two hundred people standing around waiting to shake his hand. You got to take the
crookeds with the straights. Yeah, Papa was something else.

CORY You still playing?

LYONS Cory . . . you know I'm gonna do that. There's some fellows down there we got us a band ... we gonna try and stay together when we get
out . . . but yeah, I'm still playing. It still helps me to get out of bed in the morning. As long as it do that I'm gonna be right there playing and trying to
make some sense out of it.

- 97 -


(Catling.) Lyons, I got these eggs in the pan.

LYONS Let me go on and get these eggs, man. Get ready to go bury Papa.

(Pause.) How you doing? You doing alright?

(CORY nods. LYONS touches him on the shoulder and they share a moment of silent grief. LYONS exits into the house. CORY wanders about the
yard. RA YNELL enters.)



MAXSON Did you used to sleep in my room?

CORY Yeah . . . that used to be my room.

MAXSON That's what Papa call it "Cory's room." It got your football in the closet.

(ROSE comes to the door.)

ROSE Raynell, get in there and get them good shoes on.

MAXSON Mama, can't I wear these. Them other one hurt my feet.

ROSE Well, they just gonna have to hurt your feet for a while. You ain't said they hurt your feet when you went down to the store and got them.
MAXSON They didn't hurt then. My feet done got bigger.

ROSE Don't you give me no backtalk now. You get in there and get them shoes on.

(RAYNELL exits into the house.) Ain't too much changed. He still got that piece of rag tied to that tree. He was out here swinging that bat. I was just
ready to go back in the house. He swung that bat and

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bat and then he just fell over. Seem like he swung it and stood there with this grin on his face . . . and then he just fell over. They carried him on down
to the hospital, but I knew there wasn't no need . . . why don't you come on in the house?

CORY Mama ... I got something to tell you. I don’t know how to tell you this ... but I’ve got to tell you ... I'm not going to Papa's funeral.

ROSE Boy, hush your mouth. That's your daddy you talking about. I don't want hear that kind of talk this morning. I done raised you to come to this?
You standing there all healthy and grown talking about you ain't going to your daddy's funeral?

CORY Mama . . . listen . . .

ROSE I don't want to hear it, Cory. You just get that thought out of your head.

CORY I can't drag Papa with me everywhere I go. I've got to say no to him. One time in my life I've got to say no.

ROSE Don't nobody have to listen to nothing like that. I know you and your daddy ain’t seen eye to eye, but I ain't got to listen to that kind of talk this
morning. Whatever was between you and your daddy ... the time has come to put it aside. Just take it and set it over there on the shelf and forget
about it. Disrespecting your daddy ain't gonna make you a man, Cory. You got to find a way to come to that on your own. Not going to your daddy's
funeral ain't gonna make you a man.

CORY The whole time I was growing up . . . living in his house . . . Papa was like a shadow that followed you everywhere. It weighed on you and
sunk into your flesh.

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It would wrap around you and lay there until you couldn't tell which one was you anymore. That shadow digging in your flesh. Trying to crawl in.
Trying to live through you. Everywhere I looked, Troy Maxson was staring back at me . . . hiding under the bed ... in the closet. I'm just saying I've
got to find a way to get rid of that shadow, Mama.

ROSE You just like him. You got him in you good.

CORY Don't tell me that, Mama.

ROSE You Troy Maxson all over again.

CORY I don't want to be Troy Maxson. I want to be me.

ROSE You can't be nobody but who you are, Cory. That shadow wasn't nothing but you growing into yourself. You either got to grow into it or cut it
down to fit you. But that's all you got to make life with. That's all you got to measure yourself against that world out there. Your daddy wanted you to
be everything he wasn't . . . and at the same time he tried to make you into everything he was. I don't know if he was right or wrong ... but I do know
he meant to do more good than he meant to do harm. He wasn't always right. Sometimes when he touched he bruised. And sometimes when he took
me in his arms he cut. When I first met your daddy I thought . . . Here is a man I can lay down with and make a baby. That's the first thing I thought
when I seen him. I was thirty years old and had done seen my share of men. But when he walked up to me and said, "I can dance a waltz that'll make
you dizzy," I thought, Rose Lee, here is a man that you can open yourself up to and be filled to bursting. Here is a man that can fill all them empty
spaces you been tipping around the edges of. One of them empty spaces was being somebody's mother.

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I married your daddy and settled down to cooking his supper and keeping clean sheets on the bed. When your daddy walked through the house he
was so big he filled it up. That was my first mistake. Not to make him leave some room for me. For my part in the matter. But at that time I wanted
that. I wanted a house that I could sing in. And that's what your daddy gave me. I didn't know to keep up his strength I had to give up little pieces of
mine. I did that. I took on his life as mine and mixed up the pieces so that you couldn't hardly tell which was which anymore. It was my choice. It was
my life and I didn't have to live it like that. But that's what life offered me in the way of being a woman and I took it. I grabbed hold of it with both
hands. By the time Raynell came into the house, me and your daddy had done lost touch with one another. I didn't want to make my blessing off of
nobody's misfortune . . but I took on to Raynell like she was all them babies I had wanted and never had.

(The phone rings.) Like I’d been blessed to relive a part of my life. And if the Lord see fit to keep up my strength ... I’m gonna do her just like your
daddy did you ... I’m gonna give her the best of what's in me.


( Entering , still with her old shoes.) Mama . . . Reverend Tollivier on the phone.
(ROSE exits into the house.)



MAXSON You in the Army or the Marines?

CORY Marines.

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MAXSON Papa said it was the Army. Did you know Blue?

CORY Blue? Who's Blue?

MAXSON Papas dog what he sing about all the time.


(Singing.) Hear it ring! Hear it ring! I had a dog his name was Blue You know Blue was mighty true You know Blue was a good old dog Blue treed a
possum in a hollow log You know from that he was a good old dog. Hear it ring! Hear it ring!

(RAYNELL joins in singing.)

CORY AND RAYNELL Blue treed a possum out on a limb Blue looked at me and I looked at him Grabbed that possum and put him in a

sack Blue stayed there till I came back Old Blue's feets was big and round Never allowed a possum to touch the ground. Old Blue died and I dug his
grave I dug his grave with a silver spade Let him down with a golden chainAnd every night I call his name Go on Blue, you good dog you Go on Blue,
you good dog you

MAXSON Blue laid down and died like a man Blue laid down and died . . .

BOTH Blue laid down and died like a man Now he's treeing possums in the Promised Land I'm gonna tell you this to let you know Blue's gone
where the good dogs go When I hear old Blue bark

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When I hear old Blue bark Blue treed a possum in Noah's Ark Blue treed a possum in Noah's Ark.
(ROSE comes to the screen door.)

ROSE Cory, we gonna be ready to go in a minute.


(To RAYNELL.) You go on in the house and change them shoes like Mama told you so we can go to Papa's funeral.

MAXSON Okay, I'll be back.

(RAYNELL exits into the house. CORY gets up and crosses over to the tree. ROSE stands in the screen door watching him. GABRIEL enters from
the alley.)


(Calling.) Hey, Rose!

ROSE Gabe?

GABRIEL I'm here, Rose. Hey Rose, I'm here!
(ROSE enters from the house.)

ROSE Lord . . . Look here, Lyons!

LYONS See, I told you, Rose ... I told you they'd let him come.
CORY How you doing, Uncle Gabe?

LYONS How you doing, Uncle Gabe?

GABRIEL Hey, Rose. It's time. It's time to tell St. Peter to open the gates. Troy, you ready? You ready, Troy. I'm gonna tell St. Peter to open the
gates. You get ready now.

(Gabriel, with great fanfare, braces himself to blow. The trumpet is without a mouthpiece. He puts the end of it into his mouth and blows with great
force, like a man

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who has been waiting some twenty-odd years for this single moment. No sound comes out of the trumpet. He braces himself and blows again with
the same result. A third time he blows. There is a weight of impossible description that falls away and leaves him bare and exposed to a frightful
realization. It is a trauma that a sane and normal mind would be unable to withstand. He begins to dance. A slow, strange dance, eerie and life-

giving. A dance of atavistic signature and ritual. L YONS attempts to embrace him. GABRIEL pushes L YONS away. He begins to howl in what is an
attempt at song , or perhaps a song turning back into itself in an attempt at speech. He finishes his dance and the gates of heaven stand open as
wide as God's closet.) That's the way that go!


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