Madame C J Walker


play script sample





(An actor dressed in nice, but not wealthy, period clothes appears with a sign reading: “1906, Kansas City, Missouri. Home of Mrs. Eugenia Craig.” The actor exits. SARAH is doing an in home demonstration to a group of black women at the house of Mrs. EUGENIA CRAIG. The women are all sitting around the kitchen table, while SARAH stands behind it, with her products in front of her, on the table. EUGENIA sits beside SARAH with a towel around her shoulder. From time to time, SARAH works on her hair, demonstrating).

SCENE 6: Kansas City, Missouri. 1906. Home of Mrs. Eugenia Craig
SARAH: So, as I was saying, ladies, the combination of the three products in this system is what makes Madam C. J. Walker’s hair care system so effective.
MRS. CROCHIT: (slightly deaf, and speaking loudly) What do you call them again, Madam Walker?
SARAH: Well, we have the Vegetable Shampoo, which gives healthy body to your hair, and gets rid of the dryness that comes from all those chemicals you’ve been using. (she massages EUGENIA’s hair, messing it all up)
EUGENIA: It just feels wonderful!
SARAH: And then there’s the Wonderful Hair Grower. (she holds up a bottle)
MRS. CROCHIT: (straining to hear) Wonderful Air Blower?
EUGENIA: Hair Grower!!
MRS. CROCHIT: I don’t understand. What does blowing air have to do with it?
MRS. JACKSON: Hair! Hair!!
MRS. CROCHIT: (offended) I can hear just fine, thank you.
MRS. SPENCER: Never mind, Mrs. Jackson. (she looks at SARAH and points to MRS. CROCHIT and to her own ear, trying to indicate that MRS. CROCHIT can’t hear well). Tell us about the Wonderful Hair Grower, Madam Walker.
SARAH: Well, when I first started using it... ladies, it was like a miracle. (the ladies all murmur, approvingly) My hair had been falling out from all that ironing. But it started coming in faster than it had ever fallen out when I started using this. (she holds up a bottle)
EUGENIA: Oooo. I’m so excited!! I bet my hair looks wonderful!
(All pause to look at her for a second, and then glance at each other. EUGENIA’s hair is still full of shampoo, going every which way. EUGENIA, sensing she has said something out of place, looks up confused).
SARAH: It certainly, will, dear, it certainly will. And of course, we end up (she takes a shake out of another bottle and proceeds to massage it into EUGENIA’s hair) with Glossine, which makes your hair nice and shiny!
MRS. CROCHIT: Mice and slimey?
MS. JACKSON: (somewhat frustrated) Shiny!
MRS. CROCHIT: Why would you want slimy hair? I don’t want my hair to be slimy!
ALL LADIES: Shiny!
MRS. CROCHIT: And where do the mice come in? I don’t like mice!
MRS. SPENCER: What about my nappy, kinky hair, Madam Walker? I’ve been trying other products, but they just don’t make me any less ugly, like that man who sold them to me said they would. Will these products keep me from being ugly?
SARAH: Well, to begin with, Mrs. Spencer. Who convinced you you had ugly hair?
MS. SPENCER: The man who sells me my hair products.
SARAH: A white man? (all nod and ‘un huhn’) Owning and selling black women’s hair products? (more knowing ‘un huhn’s and looks between the ladies) Women’s hair is no business of men’s. And we’ve got to convince black women that their hair is just as beautiful as white woman’s hair. It’s not ugly. Just different!
MS. JACKSON: We? What do you mean we?
SARAH: Well, now that’s the best part. I’ve been saving this for last. (all the women lean in as if hearing a secret. SARAH’s voice is conspiratorial) If you use my hair products, and you like them, then you can become an agent of Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company.
EUGENIA: An agent!!
MS. SPENCER: You’re offering us a job?!
SARAH: Starting at $5.00 a week!
EUGENIA: $5.00 a week? (she looks thunderstruck)
MS. JACKSON: I never heard of a black woman making more than $2.50 a week. Are you sure this is legal?
SARAH: One hundred percent legal, Mrs. Jackson. Not only do you get better hair products, but you get paid to tell other woman about them!
EUGENIA: $5.00 a week! Imagine what I could do with an extra $2.50 a week! Why in just two weeks I’d have enough to buy my husband a brand new suit for his birthday. It’s just too good to be true. (all the ladies are now totally intrigues, except for MS. CROCHIT who looks confused).
SARAH: And I don’t want you to speak to our customers just about hair. We have to talk to them about health and nutrition, too. And about self-sufficiency.
MS. SPENCER: Self-sufficiency?
SARAH: Absolutely. Take care of ourselves! Black women are strong and proud. It’s about time they started earning money to match their strength and their pride. I want all our customers to know that they are independent and capable of standing on their own two feet, economically.
EUGENIA: Oh, my!
MS. JACKSON: Well, you can count me in as an agent!
MS. SPENCER: Me too.
EUGENIA: $5.00 a week! (she is still in shock)
MRS. CROCHIT: Do we have to sell mice? I don’t think my friends would like to buy any more mice.
SARAH: No, Mrs. Crochit, in your case we can skip the mice.
MRS. CROCHIT: Thank goodness. I’ve had enough mice to last me a lifetime.
SARAH: Well, we’ll only ask you to sell hair products.
MRS. CROCHIT: Oh, dear. I don’t think I could sell air or ducks.
SARAH: I’m sure you’ll do just fine. (She holds up a bottle) Now who would like to try some?
(All ladies immediately hold up their hands. SARAH smiles, and reaches into her bag and starts passing out bottles, as the women excited ad lib and reach into their purses for money).




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