Synopsis

Happy Ending & A Day of Absence

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Douglas Turner Ward

Published by Dramatists Play Service

8 Female

Happy Ending - A long-run Off-Broadway hit, produced with an all-black cast and given in tandem with Day of Absence

Filled with sharp, satiric thrusts, the play reports hilariously on the plight of two black domestics whose white employers are on the verge of divorce thereby threatening a cutoff in the household graft which has brought considerable luxury to their lives

It tells of two sisters, Ellie and Vi, who work as maid and laundress for the wealthy Harrisons. As the play begins they are sitting at the kitchen table in a tenement apartment in Harlem, lamenting the end of their good times. Mr. Harrison has discovered his wife in an act of infidelity

The sisters fear that if the marriage breaks up they will be both out of a job. Their nephew, Junie, chides them for their slavish sentiments at a time when blacks are on the march toward liberation

"His satire is sharp without being angry, and he can laugh at Negroes as well as at whites." -NY World-Telegram & Sun. "Laughter is a powerful weapon, and it is good to see it being put to work in the Negro theater" - NY Herald Tribune

A Day of Absence - A comic satire about an imaginary Southern town where all the black people have suddenly disappeared. The only ones left are sick and lying in hospital beds, refusing to get well

Infants are crying because they are being tended to by strange parents. The Mayor pleads for the President, Governor, and the NAACP to send him "a jackpot of jigaboos"

On a nationwide radio network he calls on the blacks, wherever they are, to come back. He shows them the cloths with which they wash cars and the brushes with which they shine shoes as sentimental reminders of the goodies that await them

In the end the blacks begin to reappear, as mysteriously as they had vanished, and the white community, sobered by what has transpired, breathes a sigh of relief at the return of the rather uneasy status quo ...

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