CAROLINE, OR CHANGE
Rolling with Change
Caroline Thibodeaux is an African American maid for a white Jewish family, the Gellmans, spending her days in their basement doing the laundry for a small sum of $30 a week. The Gellmans' son, Noah, has a strong bond with Caroline who consoles him in the death of his mother.
Noah's new stepmother Rose, unable to give Caroline a raise, decides to teach Noah a lesson in the value of money. Noah has a habit of leaving change his pants pocket. Rose tells Noah and Caroline that Caroline should keep the money that Noah leaves in his pockets. Caroline is not fond of the idea but lacks money for her own children.
The lesson goes amiss when the ownership of a $20 bill is contested after it is found in the laundry, and Caroline's relationship with eight-year-old Noah is irreversibly shattered.
Change is not only prevalent in the form of money in Caroline’s life but in the sweep of historical change worldwide. Not only is the play set on November 23rd 1963, the day after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but also many other historic events take place around this era in the middle of the civil rights movement.
• 1960, New Orleans, Louisiana
The federal government enforces school integration, and a majority of white students boycott the rest of the term.
• 1961, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Police disperse 1,500 civil rights protestors with attack dogs and tear gas.
• 1963, Washington, DC
Over 250,000 people join together at the Lincoln Memorial, making the March on Washington the largest protest in U.S. history. Martin Luther King, Jr. announces, “I Have a Dream.”
• 1963, United States
According to the Justice Department, in the 10 weeks before King's "I Have a Dream" speech, there were 758 demonstrations in 186 cities resulting in 14,733 arrests.
• 1963 is considered the defining year in the civil rights movement.
• March 17, 1965 Selma-Montgomery Alabama
Some 2,000 people, including both black and Jewish
protesters, set out from Selma on March 21, protected by U.S. Army troops and Alabama National Guard that President Johnson had ordered. After walking nearly 12 hours a day and sleeping in fields along the way, they arrived in Montgomery on March 25, where nearly 50,000 civil rights supporters were waiting.
Caroline, or Change depicts the gripping feel of the civil rights movement through the eyes of a maid attempting to deal with the events unfolding around her, both in her personal life as well as in the world around her.
Article by: TJ Moore (OCP Marketing Intern)