Fifty plus years ago Dutchman premiered at the Cherry Lane Theatre - it was Amiri Baraka's first play - and won him an Obie (Off Broadway) award.
|AMIRI BARAKA'S DUTCHMAN AT THE CASTILLO THEATRE|
The great producer/director, Woodie King Jr. has reprised the play, in partnership with the Castillo Theatre, for a limited engagement.
I had the privilege of checking it out recently and it is as relevant now as it was when Amiri first penned and produced it. That's both good and bad news. It means that he was, as always ahead of his time, with his fingers on the pulse of society. The sad thing is that the needle on the timeline of society's progress has shifted but little since then - so the relevancy of this play is tragically and poignantly still valid.
Many of you will find yourselves riding on that same subway with Clay - the malleable one - while he gives Lulu a merry, but psycho/cerebral chase. It is to be experienced as much as watched - you're drawn in to the drama and trauma as they make their way through the verbal gymnastics of this mighty tour de force.
CASTILLO NOTES: The title Dutchman is an allusion to The Dutch East India Company, the most renowned slave ship company of the 17th century, whose flagship for the voyages between West Africa and America, tradition says, was named Flying Dutchman. The literary legend is The Flying Dutchman in which the central character is ever in pursuit of prey that can never be caught. This production will include the music of Wagner's The Flying Dutchman. Experimental, allegorical and angry, Dutchman is set on a New York City subway train, where Lula, a young white woman, strikes up a conversation with Clay, a young middle-class black man. As the play unspools, she goads him, with liberal righteousness, into releasing the anger that, as a black man, he must surely be harboring.
Ryan Jillian Kilpatrick does a wonderful job portraying the elusive, abusive Lulu, while Michael Alcide makes a perfect "Clay" everyman who is tempted and repulsed at the same time. Bill Toles who produced the sound and audio draws you right into the reality of the ride.
Dutchman opened February 5 at the Castillo Theatre for a limited engagement - with March 8 being the final performance date.
For information and tickets contact Castillo at (212) 941-1234 - The Castillo Theatre is located at 543 W. 42nd Street in NYC.
Also note that Woodie King will produce Amiri Baraka's final play, THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA - the story of W. E. B. DuBois and his bouts with Senator Joseph McCarthy during the McCarthy Era. There is a KICKSTARTER FUNDRAISING EFFORT to provide funds for this monumental production. Those of you who are interested can contact Woodie King via the Castillo Theatre for information on how you can help. Contributions as little as $10.00 will go a long way in making this historical play a reality.
Stay Blessed &