That's all what they got in the whole colored high school. One Bunsen burner and a bowl o' goldfish.
Woody — Scene 5

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I would like to read the script before deciding whether to organize a reading. Where may I obtain a copy?

The script is available in three versions: the Full Version (i.e., Readers Theatre Version A) and two Youth Versions.

If you are interested in a full production of Now Let Me Fly please use the contact form to let the playwright know about your interest.

Our group is enthusiastic about reading the play but none of us bears any physical resemblance to the characters. Should we just read it silently, to ourselves?

By all means, read it aloud! It's theatre, after all! If you have a printed program, you can list who is reading which roles. Or, at the beginning of the reading, you might make an announcement of who is reading which parts. For example: "Tonight, Sadie McNamara will be reading the part of Woody..." You might also consider teaming up with a another group or even a theatre, if your group is large enough to make up an audience.

Our elementary school is interested in Now Let Me Fly. We see that there is a youth version of the play intended for high school and middle school students. What about our students doing it?

We recommend that you read the youth version of the play and judge for yourself whether it is doable by and suitable for your school. If yes, perhaps older students can do a reading with younger students as an audience. Or maybe you can get a high school involved in doing a reading for your elementary students. We do think it's great that you want to bring this important piece of history into your school.

The word "colored" is used in the script. Many find this term offensive. Is there a philosophical reason for its use?

When writing Now Let Me Fly an effort was made to use the language of the times. "White" and "colored" were the common polite designations in the 1950s. "Colored" is the term found in the transcripts of the legal case, including the Supreme Court records. Note that the term in common usage today is "people of color."

Our cast is mostly female. Do you have suggestions on how to handle this situation?

The best thing would be to ignore gender and race and cast the people with the strongest voices and most dramatic presence. It will be very contemporary, hip and modern to do it this way!

We are unable to do the entire play. Could you recommend a program of excerpts?

We're glad you want to take part in A NATION ACTS and we recognize that in some situations there are time or other constraints in programming. Here is our recommendation for a program of excerpts lasting 20-30 minutes:
If you can only do one scene, consider Scene 9. If you need a two-minute monolog, consider Barbara Johns' speech in Scene 7.

What can you tell me about the spirituals/hymns in Now Let Me Fly?

The hymns mentioned in the script were included either because someone in an interview said that is what was sung at the time or because there was some aspect of movement to them (Get on Board, Little Children, for example). Do not feel that you have to use these hymns. The best thing to do may be to determine what songs (i.e., traditional spirituals, gospel songs that are of some vintage, etc.) your cast knows that might fit. The songs will have some meaning and familiarity for the people singing them. A website that provides background on and lyrics to Negro spirituals is negrospirituals.com. Or, search negro spirituals at Google.

Is a video of Now Let Me Fly available?

Unfortunately, a video of the play is not available.

Where can I learn more about the Brown v. Board case?

See our Brown v. Board Resources webpage.