In Carpenter’s musings on the dramaturgical discomfort of staging black suffering and subjugation, she takes on the task of identifying ways to make space for the dysfluency of black life in America on stage. Using the model of Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm’s tragicomedy, Hooded, Or Being Black for Dummies, Carpenter posits that to depict black suffering on stage without sensationalizing or depersonalizing the violence—and thus contributing to the cycle of violence you depict—theatermakers must make room for the dramaturgical stutter: strategic dysfluency that defies trite concision by allowing for conscious, thought-provoking iterations. The narratives of black suffering and black death in America are not neat, and the way we recount them, Carpenter argues, should never be allowed to feel fluent or stress free.

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