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Previews: DUTCHMAN at American Stage

Play looks at relations in 1960s between White Americans and African Americans

Opening at American Stage on Friday, July 1, and running through July 31 is the drama "Dutchman" written by Amiri Baraka/ LeRoi Jones and directed by Erica Sutherlin.

"Dutchman" originally debuted during the Civil Rights movement, but, sadly, this Obie Award-winning play about race and identity continues to be highly relevant. Set in New York City, it tells a provocative story of the political and psychological struggle between African Americans and White Americans. The playwright viewed society as The Flying Dutchman, a ghost ship, an inescapable torment of African American men.

"Dutchman" features a cast of Adebowalé Adebiyi - Clay, Shannon Mary Keegan - Lula, Enoch King - Conductor, Tyrese Pope - Young Man, Massiel Evans - Ensemble, Hannah Hockman - Ensemble, Kate Hoster - Ensemble, Evan Smith - Ensemble, and Deisha King - Ensemble.

"Dutchman" scenic designer Teresa Williams said, "This has been a great experience. Mostly just because of the collaborative atmosphere between the director, choreographer, the lighting designer, and costume designer. When we approached this show, we had a script with the material we needed already baked into it, but we had a little bit more freedom to push that line further. We got to add things to the show that weren't in the scripts and created something of our own that we all came up with together. Most of the story takes place in a script in a 1960s subway in Harlem, but we're also really focused on how that relates to today and what many people in our country are still going through. The timeline is all connected."

Teresa said that working with the lighting designer Dalton Hamilton, they could convey the illusion of being on a ship during the opening sequence.

"Playing with lights and colors came into a beautiful moment," she said. "The fact is we can tell this story and stretch through multiple timelines and periods. It's not just situated in the timeline; it's showing that this is something that affects people now and affected people then. Our director would say this is an endless cycle, but we're just taking a peek at one section of it. Being able to tell this story and collaborating with this wonderful group of people has been great. I think our last scene is really thought-provoking. It goes back to this being an endless cycle, and our last scene hints at that. I want the audience to think about where they see themselves in this story and how they could affect it if they were in this situation."

To celebrate "Dutchman" as their season finale and going into their 45th season to make theatre accessible for all, American Stage has discounted single tickets of $45.




From This Author - Deborah Bostock-Kelley

A twice-published author, multi-time award-winning playwright, magazine writer, theatre reviewer, and newspaper journalist with 30+ years in journalism and business copywriting, Deb was a 2019 Recipient... (read more about this author)


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