copyright © 2003 Dwayne Yancey


By Dwayne Yancey

Copyright 2003; all rights reserved.

(Before the lights come up, the stage needs to be set up with three boxes, and the husband needs to be in place with a broom. He’ll start sweeping in the dark. Lights up.

The man continues sweeping, as if cleaning the garage, but soon his attention wanders. He starts looking in boxes, and pulls out some old albums. )

HUSBAND: Toss. Toss. Whoa, what’s this? Where did all this stuff come from? . . . Wow, look at this. Bo Diddley. Little Walter. Man, this goes back – way back. Back to the beginning . . . The beginning.

(He starts playing air guitar with the broom, and begins talking to himself.)

In the beginning, my spirit came from deep in the heart of Africa, where the first cadences of life began to beat – and beat with the rhythm of blood, hot and dark and utterly mysterious.

I crossed paths with fortune hunters and and slave traders. I was shackled with irons and carried across the ocean in the dank cargo hold of a slave ship.

Yet my spirit – my spirit survived – and sang. I sang the songs of pain and redemption in the cottonfields and tobacco fields on a thousand plantations from Virginia to Texas to God knows where.

But my soul, if you believe the legends, my soul was bought and sold at a nameless little crossroads in the Mississippi Delta, and that’s when my fingers first began to make love to those six metal strings and my voice first began to sign the blues.

I travelled up the river, the big muddy, to Chicago. There, on the southside, in smoky bars and whorehouses, I was plugged in, turned on, turned up. I was electrified.

The blues had a baby, and I was born.

I was country, but I was city. I was black, but I was white. I was there in Sun Studios in Memphis, keeping the beat alongside a truck driver from Tupelo, Mississippi. I was there in St. Louis with Chuck Berry, riding alongside Maybelline in her coupe de ville. I was there flying high with Buddy Holly – taking off from Clear Lake, Iowa.

I travelled back across the ocean, to England.

I still wasn’t loud enough to be heard by everyone, but those of a certain age heard me all right. Oh, yeah, they heard me. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I was the background noise on Brighton Beach when the mods and rockers trashed the Grand Hotel. I was the voice of a g-g-g-generation that inspired Monterey, Woodstock, and yes, even Altamont.

I have ridden in Lear jets and limosines; I have tossed televisions out of hotel windows.

I have traded licks with the devil, I have sung harmony with the angels. I have a golden circle seat in heaven, but an all-access backstage pass to hell.

(At some point during the following, the wife and son enter, at the back or side of the stage. The wife stares disapprovingly.)

I am enshrined in Cleveland in the hall of fame, but I am still tthere in every garage across this land whenever some kid backs out dad’s car, calls up his friends and cranks up the only three chords they know.

(He sinks to knees and raises hands in victory.)

Ye and truly, I am rock’n’roll!

WIFE: Are you going to fool around all day, or clean the garage?

I’ve already bought the ad in the paper, you know, so there’s no getting out of it.

If we want to have a garage sale, we’ve got to have a garage to put things in.

And get rid of these old records. We don’t listen to ‘em anyway.)

(Wife exits; son looks at the records.)

SON: Who’s Bo Diddley?

(Husband smiles and the lights go down.)

-------- THE END ---------

Dwayne Yancey

1791 Mount Pleasant Church Road

Fincastle, VA 24090

Days: 981 3113


Website:; search under "playwrights."


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