Reimagining Harriet

What is the effect of reimagining the story of Harriet Jacobs?

In “Harriet Jacobs” by Lydia Diamond, what does Diamond incorporate or leave out of her adaptation of The Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and what effect does this have on the reading of this text?

Take 1: Analysis of Act 1, Scene 6 of “Harriet Jacobs”

I chose this scene because it breaks the typical structure of a play. The dialogue isn’t bound to specific characters; people begin to finish each others sentences to present the collective truth about slavery. Further, it instantaneously mirrors and strays away from the original narrative, as most of the scenes of this play do.


Take 2: Artistic Representation of “Harriet Jacobs”

My artistic representation means to represent Diamond’s play as a whole. I see it as puzzle pieces coming together to ultimately form the complete text. The blacked out pieces represent what is omitted, while the monochromatic pieces represent the fictional aspects Diamond inserted into her text. The other puzzle pieces are a mixture of true life events, represented by the multicolored scribbles, and the black and white pieces, which represent the written form (the dialogue and stage directions).

Take 3: Performance of Scene 6

There are two performances linked below. This take was intended to get closer to the specific choice Diamond made to add additional, imaginary characters into her text. This is why my initial performance consists only of Harriet’s dialogue, while the second is a full performance of the scene. I enlisted my family to play the roles of additional characters in the scene. After many takes, and a lot of messing up, we finally agreed that was the best we could do as a family. It’s not perfect but we did try our hardest.

Performance 1

Performance 2

Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *