Elma is a slave on the Landon plantation. When Mrs. Landon discovers that her husband has been intimate with her she decides that the only way she can stay in control of the situation is to keep her enemies closer. He brings Elma into the house and treats her worse than she was treated when she was working outside. Mrs. Landon vowed to never allow her to see or speak to her family again even though they were just footsteps away. As the scene develops Elma voices her feelings on the situation realizing that Mrs. Landon is truly an evil woman. Mrs. Landon then uses Elma’s faith to teach her and the slaves on the plantation a very valuable lesson, you do not cross the Master’s wife. Mrs. Landon puts an evil spin on the baptismal water when she drags Elma to the river and “baptizes” her in the name of all that is right and just, in her eyes. Forcing her family to watch as she fights for her life.
Duo/ Duet- Inside The Big House
- (Scene opens with Elma combing the hair of an elderly Mrs. Landon. She takes great pride in her work and hums or sings to her a song that makes Mrs. Landon smile and creates a calm that sooths the room. They come across as best friends for life.) Mrs. Landon: Elma. Elma: Yes, Mrs. Landon? Mrs. Landon: You are the best nigger slave a woman could ask for. Elma: Why, thank you ma’am. (Beat) If I could ma’am go to the slave quarters and visit my family I would very much appreciate it. Mrs. Landon: How long has it been Elma? Elma: It has been one hundred and forty seven days ma’am. Mrs. Landon: (Smirks) You’re keeping count? Elma: Yes ma’am. Mrs. Landon: How high can you count? Elma: I can count very high ma’am. Mrs. Landon: Well you let me know when you run out of numbers, then maybe a few years after that I’ll let you see your family. Elma: Ma’am please let me see them. I just want to know that they are okay, and to be so close to them and not be able to see them or touch them or tell my momma that I’m okay. Mrs. Landon: They don’t need to know that. You’re in the big house with your Master’s wife. Say it. (Elma looks to the ground for a moment as if she is debating on giving in. She makes eye contact with Mrs. Landon.) Elma: I’m sorry Mrs. Landon I would never want to see my family. You are my Master’s Wife. Mrs. Landon: I am not an evil woman. (Laughs) My mother was a grand madam and her mother was one of the first women to own slaves and run a plantation all by herself in the bowels of Louisiana. There is a certain amount of elegance that comes with being the woman of the house. I have to maintain a certain position of authority with the help. When my husband Bush is gone to town to purchase corn meal or oats or even to pick up a new slave or two it is my job to be in charge. This house sits on forty-seven wonderful acres of cotton filled land so yes; we own slaves and we treat them like an investment.