Essay, Research Paper: Swamp Gravy

Theater

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Georgians from different backgrounds, sharing various experiences in life, all
have a story to tell. Swamp Gravy portrays these real life stories with a unique
staging technique, allowing the audience to be involved and participate during
the performance. The play illustrates folk life in the past and celebrates the
way things use to be when life was simple. The stories told in Swamp Gravy are
derived from local tales and histories of the community that reveal themes about
death, family, and relationships. The theme of death was evident in the first
act of the play. The main character, Harvey, was only a young child when his
mother died a month after giving birth to a baby girl. After his mother's death,
Harvey and his five other siblings were separated and labeled as orphans. Harvey
had no mother and his father was not a positive figure in Harvey's life. He felt
a sense of abandonment, loneliness, and a voidance of love. As the play
progressed, a young girl who lost her big brother in a car accident told another
story about death. The younger sister admired and looked up to her older
brother. She was saddened by the death of her brother, but she held on to the
memory of him, as did Harvey remember his mother. Swamp Gravy exemplified the
importance of family throughout the play. A large family was common and
displayed a sense of unity and love. Harvey's youngest sister was adopted when
she was a baby. She always felt emptiness in her heart and often dreamed of
someday meeting her biological family. Harvey, also determined to find his baby
sister, never gave up hope. During one scene of the play, a family convened in
the swamp for a family reunion. Even though the family's cousins were escaped
convicts, the family still wanted to include them in the reunion because the
were family. The scene featuring the triplets, Bessie, Ressie, and Essie also
emphasized the theme of family. The three women shared close relationships with
one another throughout their youthful lives and were continuing to grow older
together. Relationships of brothers and sisters, fathers and sons, and man with
God were developed in the play. Most of these relationships were considered to
be special in their own way. However, Harvey and his father were not close and
frequently argued, causing both of them to become dependent on alcohol. As
Harvey grew older, he became more depressed. It was not until he attained a
close relationship with God and sought a relationship with his younger sister
that Harvey became truly happy. The various scenes and stories in the play
reflect the folk life of South Georgia in the past. The play's themes of death,
family, and relationships support the real life situations that compose this
drama. Swamp Gravy allows one to observe folk life and folkways and appreciate,
as well as cherish, the past of South Georgia.
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