March 19, 2015
The Mojo and the Sayso is a play written by Aisha Rahmen originally produced by the Crossroads Theatre Company in New Brunswick, New Jersey in the year 1988. It takes place in the main family, the Benjamin’s, living room and the family consists of Acts who is the father, the mother Awilda, and two brothers Blood and Linus. Linus is deceased when the play starts but is referenced throughout the piece. The pastor of the local church appears as well in the second act. To start the play, Acts works on a car, which is positioned right in the middle of the living room, while Awilda attempts to go to church but continues to bring up the day of their son Linus’ death. Eventually, Acts gets angry at Awilda as she continues to ask him what his part was in their sons death, and this prompts Acts to start yelling at her for being over religious and believing that god has a role in everything. As they bicker back and forth, their son Blood barges in through a window with an unloaded gun and threatens to kill these imaginary people he thinks are scattered throughout the house. Ever since Linus’ death, Blood has been very angry and violent and his mom refers to him as “the one that floats around with a bomb in his heart.” Eventually, Acts retrieves the gun from Blood and Awilda heads to church, and Acts and Blood are left talking more about Linus’ death and what has gone wrong with Blood. The Benjamin family received a lot of money for the wrongful death of their son and when the pastor comes to the house, he tells Awilda to tell Acts what they will do with it. He laughs at the idea of giving it to the pastor for a memorial, and Blood soon forces the pastor out of the house with a knife. When the pastor leaves Acts finally explains the story. Two drunk cops mistakes them for burglars, and when they attempt to run one of them shot Linus in the back. Awilda and Blood are relieved to hear the story, and they finally get in the car that Acts has been working on for so long and drive through the front door and leave their home behind.
One aspect of this play sticks out more than others and is something that is extremely relevant in society today. This play was made in the year 1988, and even today, over twenty years later, there are still problems in the world with minorities not being treated fairly. Specifically relating to this play, with unjustified murder of young African American men. Within the past year, a couple big headlines were the murders of two different unarmed African American males in Missouri and New York. Similar too the case in the play of Linus being wrongfully murdered, these families will probably receive a good amount of money for these deaths, but no matter how much money is given, it does not compare to the life of a family member that is killed for no reason. It is sad to say, but in this play and in stories that have happened in real life, it seems as if a police officer automatically assumes an African American male to be breaking the law, and sometimes it is taken to an extreme level and ends with someone dying. This is something that has been going on for a long time and even though there is said to be change, there really has been no noticeable change put in place.
My first step in the research process of this play would be to find all of the police brutality incidents against minorities that have occurred in the United States since 1988, when this play was created. I would look to find any connections between them such as location, the race of the police officer, gender of the police officer, and gender of the one being brutalized. Secondly, I am very interested in Acts background. He didn’t seem very social with his wife or child, and I am