The drama “Dutchman” written by Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones and directed by Erica Sutherlin will open on the American stage on Friday, July 1 and will continue until July 31.
“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, it tells a provocative story of the political and psychological struggle between African Americans and white Americans. The playwright saw society as The Flying Dutchman, a ghost ship, an inescapable torment to 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 – Together, and Deisha King – Together.
“Dutch” scenic designer Teresa Williams said: “It was a great experience. Mainly just because of the collaborative atmosphere between director, choreographer, lighting designer and costume designer. When we approached this show, we had a storyline with the material we needed already built in, but we had a bit more freedom to push that line further, we were able 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 scenario in a 1960s subway in Harlem, but we’re also very focused on how that plays out. relates to today and what many people in our country are still going through. The timeline is all tied together.
Teresa said that by working with lighting designer Dalton Hamilton, they could give the illusion of being on a ship during the opening sequence.
“Playing with lights and colors went into a beautiful moment,” she said. “The thing is, we can tell this story and span multiple timelines and time periods. It’s not just set in the timeline; it shows that it’s something that affects people now and people affected then. Our director seems like it’s an endless cycle, but we’re just taking a look at a section of it. Being able to tell this story and collaborate with this wonderful group of people has been great. I think our last scene is really empowering. It comes down to being an endless cycle, and our last scene alludes to that. I want the audience to think about where they see themselves in this story and how it might affect them s he found himself in this situation.
To celebrate “Dutchman” as their season finale and entering their 45th season to make theater accessible to everyone, American Stage has reduced single tickets by $45.