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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1284

Act I
Scene i takes place at 3:00 a.m. Angel, who is drunk, is being helped home to Guy’s apartment by Guy and Leland, a young man who happened to be passing them on the street. Angel’s boyfriend, Nick, an Italian gangster, has just gotten married and has broken off his relationship with her. During her nightclub performance at the Cotton Club, which Nick was attending, Angel interrupted her dance routine to yell and throw things at him from the stage. As a result, she has been fired, as has her friend Guy, who worked as a costume designer for the club. Guy’s neighbor, Delia, awakened by the commotion, comes into his apartment to see what has happened. Delia, a social worker, is trying to organize the opening of a family planning clinic in Harlem. Guy explains that his dream is to get a job as costume designer for the celebrated African- American singer and dancer Josephine Baker, who is living in Paris.

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Scene ii takes place that Sunday afternoon. Since Angel had been living in an apartment paid for by Nick, Guy offers to let her live with him for a while. He doesn’t tell her that he, too, has been fired, for fear of worrying her. Delia comes in to see how Angel is doing. Their friend Sam, a well-respected doctor at the Harlem Hospital, also stops by. He has just delivered twins and offers them all a drink in celebration. Sam, Delia, and Guy leave to go out for dinner, while Angel, still too hung over to eat, stays behind. Looking out the window, she sees Leland, whom she does not remember from the night before. After he explains that he helped Guy take her home, she suggests they go for a walk together the following Sunday.

Scene iii takes place the following Wednesday afternoon. Angel comes home to Guy’s apartment, having spent the whole day walking around Harlem, trying without luck to get a new job as a nightclub singer. Guy returns home and tells her that Nick has set up an audition for her at a club owned by his friend Tony T. Angel and Guy get ready to attend a party in honor of the poet Langston Hughes, who has been out of town. Meanwhile, in Delia’s apartment, Delia and Sam work together on preparing her speech to convince a local church to support the opening of a family planning clinic.

Scene iv takes place the following Sunday evening. After Leland arrives for his date with Angel, Guy, Delia, and Sam leave to go out to the theater. Angel and Leland stay in the apartment and get to know one another. Angel learns that Leland is from Alabama and has recently come to Harlem to stay with a cousin. He tells her that his wife, Anna, died eight months earlier in childbirth, which the baby also did not survive. Leland explains that Angel reminds him of his wife, which is why she caught his attention. Angel also learns that Leland is very religious; she admits that she herself does not go to church. Angel kisses him and the lights go down.

Scene v takes place the following Friday evening. Guy tells Delia that he has finally received a telegram from Josephine Baker in Paris, stating that she likes his gown designs and requesting that he send her several sample gowns. After Delia leaves, Leland arrives for a date with Angel, who is not home yet. Guy invites him in but goes out before Angel arrives. Angel comes in, back from her ‘‘audition’’ with Tony T. She explains that Tony T. wanted to take her on as his mistress, supporting her in exchange for romantic companionship. Leland assumes that Angel has turned down Tony T.’s offer, although Angel hints that she has, in fact, accepted it since she has no other source of income. Leland tells Angel that he wants to be her man, although she warns him against the idea. He gives her a dress as a gift. After Leland leaves, Angel looks at the dress, which is entirely too conservative for her taste and...

(The entire section contains 1284 words.)

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