12 March 2008

Slave Narratives: Prince Among Slaves & The Story of Catcher Freeman


[From Stone Baby Games] I have a new category: Slave Narratives. I'm on a search for all kinds of slave narratives in all kinds of media. Fictional, autobiographical, mythical, books, film, spoken word, still life. I am particularly looking for slave narratives that break with convention.

Last month, as I watched Prince Among Slaves (the book on which it is based) on PBS, I realized that Steal Away Jordan has more in common with a televised dramatization of a slave narrative than a text, such as Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.

I push the notion that in SAJ you play a hero. Your character can be larger than life. Your story has a full orchestra soundtrack. Your character's costumes and makeup would win Oscars. Your characters may not get everything they want, and quite possibly may not survive, but they will go out in a blaze of glory. The audience will howl and weep and will cheer at the end.

Stories spoken out loud have that affect on me. It's one of those things that drew me to role playing games in the first place. I could not resist the chance to exchange stories. Reading a book is a personal story telling experience. Movies and role playing games are enjoyed best in groups.

Last night at work, I finally saw an episode of The Boondocks. Tonight I watched The Story of Catcher Freeman. It illustrates perfectly and hilariously the power of collaborative story telling. You have four people each giving their account of a legendary slave hero, in all his cinematic glory. Each story reflects the ideals and perceptions of the story teller, for better or worse. Best of all, it was painfully funny. You can see it here for now.

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