African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Zora Neale Hurston, "The First One" (Full text of one-act play) (1927)

A Play in One Act

Time: Three Years After the Flood

Place : Valley of Ararat

Persons : Noah, His Wife, Their Sons : Shem, Japheth, Ham ; Eve, Ham's Wife; The Sons' wives and children ( 6 or 7) .

Setting: Morning in the Valley of Ararat. The Mountain is in the near distance. Its lower slopes grassy with grazing herds. The very blue sky beyond that. These together form the back-ground. On the left downstage is a brown tent. A few shrubs are scattered here and there over the stage indicating the temporary camp. A rude altar is built center stage. A Shepherd's crook, a goat skin water bottle, a staff and other evidences of nomadic life lie about the entrance to the tent. To the right stretches a plain clad with bright flowers. Several sheep or goat skins are spread about on the ground upon which the people kneel or sit whenever necessary.

Action : stage. Curtain rises on an empty stage. It is dawn. A great stillness, but immediately Noah enters from the tent and ties back the flap. He is clad in loose fitting dingy robe tied about the waist with a strip of goat hide. Stooped shoulders, flowing beard. He gazes about him. His gaze takes in the entire stage. 


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