Literature Essays on Performing Literature
“The C above C above High C” represents a historically reputed play authored by Ishmael Reed in the 1990s, which centers around the ethnic problems in the 1950s in conjunction with other issues that encompass substance abuse and infidelity. Had it been written in the 1950s, the play would not have come across differently since all the issues addressed occurred correspondingly in both periods. The major characters in the play are Louis Armstrong, a prominent African-American instrumentalist, and Eisenhower, a white male who appears to have never faced racial problems. The two characters are challenged and nearly compelled to carry out what they deem right in an attempt of realizing their “High C” in the course of their existence (Reed 277-293). Armstrong was not worried about the price to pay in his fight for justice and almost spoilt his reputation by defending what he believed was right. Though the play was not written at the time in which it was set, it is exceptionally accurate with historical occurrences of the era, and Armstrong would have been a similar character.
The key themes portrayed by Armstrong are bravery, racial discrimination, and hatred. Even though the character is often condemned in the play, he seeks to reason with the president. He explains to him that despite the physical killing of Hitler, his hatred is manifested on bigoted men (Bonilla-Silva 57). Possibly the major motive behind Armstrong’s advances on the problems such as racism (which were present both at the time that the play was set and when it was authored) was the strong engagement of the readers. In expressions, such as: “Afraid that you will turn black?” (Reed 284), Armstrong purposely employs identifiable occurrences to make the audience acquaint with the problems, irrespective of race.
Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. “4 Getting Over the Obama Hope Hangover: The New Racism in ‘Post-Racial’ America”. Theories of Race and Ethnicity, vol. 1, no. 1, 2015, p. 57.
Reed, Ishmael. “The C above C above High C”. The Antioch Review, vol. 57, no. 3, 1999, pp. 277-293.