Dael Orlandersmith's critically-embraced drama, Yellowman, a relationship play concerning internal racism between differently-shaded people of color, begins performances Oct. 1 at Manhattan Theatre Club.
The two-actor work was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and comes to MTC's Stage I by way of a co production of several American regional theatres, including the McCarter Theatre, the Wilma Theater, Long Wharf Theatre and A Contemporary Theatre. Blanka Zizka, co-artistic director of the Wilma, stages the production, as she did on regionally, with the same cast: Orlandersmith herself plays Alma, a dark-skinned African American woman, with Howard W. Overshown as her romantic and cultural foil, the lighter-skinned Eugene. The characters grew up together as children in the South, longing to leave that world. According to production notes, the work "takes a look at how the sins of the past become the legacy of the future, and the harsh realities of internal racism."
Yellowman opens Oct. 22. Designers are Klara Zieglerova (sets), Janus Stefanowicz (costumes), Russell H. Champa (lights) and Elliott Sharp (composer).
Yellowman takes its title from the skin-tone definition among African Americans: Those with lighter skin tones are considered "yellow."
Orlandersmith also penned Monster and The Gimmick. Director Zizka is a Barrymore Award winner who has helmed Jim Cartwright's Road, Avenue X and The Invention of Love. MTC's Stage I is at City Center, 151 W. 55th Street, in Manhattan. On Stage II, Charlayne Woodard's autobiographical solo show, In Real Life, continues.
Tickets for Yellowman are $60, though MTC has student and group rates. For information, call (212) 581 1212 or visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.
— By Kenneth Jones