Lula, a young white woman, encounters Clay, a Black man, on the subway. His “buttoned-up” attire would indicate that he is not from the streets, but solidly from the middle class. She attempts right there on the train to sexually provoke him. Each has pre-conceptions about The Other. Both are in for a big surprise.
First produced off-Broadway in 1964, Dutchman won the Obie Award. Amiri Baraka’s breakthrough play, co-produced by Edward Albee and presented and published when Baraka was still known as LeRoi Jones, launched the prolific African American writer into the front ranks of American public intellectuals. At the current moment, when race relations and related violence are once again commanding headlines, Dutchman feels as timely as ever.
The current production at Edgemar Center for the Arts will play for three performances only prior to traveling to the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, where it is a Festival selection this August.
Tanna Frederick stars as Lula. She has received critical acclaim for her stage appearances at Edgemar in recent years, including roles in Train to Zakopané, The Rainmaker (L.A. Times Critic’s Choice), Just 45 Minutes From Broadway, Sylvia and more. She is one of the queens of independent cinema, with starring roles in The M Word, Hollywood Dreams, Queen of the Lot, Irene in Time, Just 45 Minutes From Broadway, and more.
Siaka Massaquoi portrays Clay. His previous credits include the film Consinsual, the TV movie Wingmen, and the stage and screen versions of Saidi’s Song.
Levy Lee Simon directs. A prize-winning playwright, he is best-known for The Haitian Trilogy: For the Love of Freedom (L.A. Times Critic’s Choice) and The Magnificent Dunbar Hotel, both of which were produced by Robey Theatre Company. The Maginificent Dunbar Hotel proved to be the biggest ticket-seller in the twenty-year-old company’s history. Dutchman, The Magnificent Dunbar Hotel, and another play by Simon, The Last Revolutionary, will all be presented this year at the National Black Theatre Festival. Simon is the recipient of the Lorraine Hansberry Award and the Audelco Award, among other honors.
Frederick, Massaquoi and Simon are graduates of the University of Iowa, where the trio met.
Performances of Dutchman will be followed by a Q&A moderated by theatre critic Sheryl Aronson.
Dutchman. Written by Amiri Baraka. Directed by Levy Lee Simon. Produced by The Rainbow Theatre Company in association with Kilpatrick/Cambridge Theatre Arts and Jazz Lion Productions. Starring Tanna Frederick and Siaka Massaquoi. At Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90405. July 15, 22 and 29, 2015. Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. Admission: . Reservations: (310) 392-7327. Online ticketing: www.edgemar.org