Playwright: Mary Anneeta Mann

ISBN: 1-4107-5028-0 (ebook)

ISBN: 1-4107-5027 (Paperback)

After reading Mary Anneeta Mann's play ThuGun & Natasha:A Drama With Rap, I asked myself, if I had seen the play performed rather than just reading it, would my experience have been more fulfilling? No doubt, it would have been different, however, reading it certainly did not take anything away from its profound messages, excellent craftsmanship as well as the overall challenging and invigorating adventure. In fact, by using my own imagination as the theater, the play received the best of all performances without having to rely on subjective filters of actors and directors. My imagination was the director as I attempted to create lasting mental images of the various actors, their sounds and how they delivered their lines. In addition, due to the timeliness of it various themes, this play was certainly meant to be read just as much as performed.

Mann informs us that its first production was in the summer of 1993 at the Burbank Little Theater performed by The Actors Company in association with Synthaxis Theater Company and directed by Sherron Welden. It was successful in its touring of several elementary and middle schools and according to its Production History, its last performance was on the 15th of December, 2002-PEACE SUNDAY, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Structured as a one act rap family musical the play is primarily aimed at children and teenagers, although this is not to say that adults cannot appreciate its message. It is divided into seven scenes, a prologue and an epilogue. There are eleven actors one of which is Thugun-a.k.a. The Gun which personifies a firearm that is the master rapper and manipulator of people’s hearts and minds. According to the back cover of the book, and one of the principal themes of the play, “RAP replaces the Greek Chorus, as TheGun the time honored gun with all of its attendant hubris, raps his way through life, exploring every angle of temptation for young men in an ethically divided community as well as those living in fear while trying to keep their lives and their businesses intact.”

It should be pointed out that without some knowledge of the historical context of this play, much of the the story's significance would probably be lost. As mentioned within the first two pages of the book, “A portion of the play is a fictionalized rendition of a true story.” The story referred to concerns Latasha Harlins, an African American teenager who was unlawfully shot and killed by a Korean store owner, Soon Ja Du in South-Central Los Angeles in1991. Apparently, Du erroneously believed that Harlins was trying to steal a bottle of orange juice and a scuffle ensued between the two. As Harlins was about to exit the store, Du reached under the counter to retrieve a handgun, then fired at Harlins killing her instantly.

According to my research, some people believe that this event, which preceded the Rodney King episode by two weeks, was one of the sparks that ignited the L.A riots in 1992. Here is something to chew on- can this event repeat itself? After all, guns are still here and the same debates concerning gun control that existed back in the 1990s are still here today. As Thugun reminds us that guns have been around for six hundred years wherein man has now become dependent on them glorifying and possessing them with pride. It seems to be one of the foremost approaches in resolving our differences and international conflicts. Surely there is a more desirable way wherein we can learn to communicate with each other without resorting to violence.

Pull up a comfortable director's chair, imagine the cast, set, movements and the sound of rap and enjoy an outstanding piece of dramatic literature which serves as a wake-up-call that we must put an end to the insane violence that bombards us everyday.

Follow Here To Purchase ThuGun and Natasha: A Drama With Rap

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Mary Anneeta Mann