WHO’S WHO: THE RESIDENTS OF CATFISH ROW
The fictional waterfront neighborhood of Catfish Row is the home for a lively community of workers from Charleston’s streets, docks and fields. The pas- sionate romance between the beggar Porgy and the troubled outcast Bess inevitably changes Catfish Row, and its people, forever.
A handicapped man who begs on the streets of Charleston for change, Porgy believes his burden in life is to be lonely. Porgy is a beloved figure in his community and fiercely protected by his Catfish Row
Bess The beautiful, scar-faced Bess is known in Catfish Row as an outcast-- attached to her violent lover, Crown, and the local cocaine dealer, Sporting Life.
Crown Bess’s dangerous lover has a violent temper and
an appetite for liquor and drugs. He is incredibly strong, and often looking for a fight.
Sporting Life A troublemaker who recently returned to Catfish
Row after living in New York City. He is the neigh- borhood’s supplier of drugs (or, “happy dust”), alco- hol and other vices.
Mariah Mariah, owner of a butcher shop in Catfish Row,
is the matriarch and protector of her community. Through her special bond with Porgy, she encour- ages the others to embrace Bess.
Serena The wife of Robbins and a deeply religious woman.
When her husband is killed, she grieves his passing.
Robbins Serena’s loving husband, Robbins, is a gambler. He is murdered in an altercation with Crown.
Jake Clara’s husband, Jake is a fisherman and captain of
his own boat, the Seagull. Ambitious and hardwork- ing, Jake takes his boat out in rain or shine so his newborn son can, one day, go to college.
Clara Jake’s wife and mother of his baby son, Clara sings
the lullaby “Summertime” to her child. She desper- ately wishes Jake would not take his boat out during the hurricane season.
Mingo The sympathetic undertaker of Catfish Row.
Frazier Catfish Row’s crab seller, who jumps at the opportu-
nity to play the (make-believe) role of Catfish Row’s resident lawyer.
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