LeRoi Jones' famous one-act play Dutchman, which won an Obie when it was first produced Off-Broadway in 1964, is proving a potent vehicle all over again. A revival by CA's The Authentic Company has just received a second extension at the Theatre at the Improv in West Hollywood.
Dutchman opened March 5 and was scheduled to run through March 28. That was extended to April 11 and now to April 25.
Dutchman is set in a Manhattan subway car on a sweltering summer's day. Two commuters, one black and male, the other female and white, make a connection during the trip. What starts out as playful and sexual between them soon turns angry and confrontational, with racism as the constant sub-text.
The ironically-named Steve White and April White co-star, with Andy Shreeman serving as producer. Bjorn Johnson is the director.
Each performance commences with a short jazz set by guest performers, suggesting the ambiance of a Manhattan subway station. In cooperation with the Magic Johnson Foundation, The Authentic Co. is presenting Dutchman to high school seniors during special daytime performances throughout March. Students also receive a brief history lesson on Jones, who later changed his name to Amiri Baraka, and the civil rights movement of the '50s and '60s, and discuss the play with celebrity guest speakers.
Theatre at the Improv is located at 8162 Melrose Ave. in W. Hollywood. Call (213) 208-3882 for information.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent
and David Lefkowitz