The resident Equity Wilma company commissioned Raw Boys by Orlandersmith. Wilma co-artistic director Blanka Zizka, who helmed Yellowman for the McCarter Theatre and its subsequent regional engagements, will stage the premiere March 2-April 10, 2005. The play "is a searing look at two young men's fight to break a legacy of abuse," according to the announcement. "William and Shane grow up in poverty with abusive, alcoholic parents in London's Council Flats. After a rifts separates the brothers for years, they eventually find themselves in America where they meet a young woman and her father — and discover a meaning in their lives they never could find on the streets of London."
Yellowman, a searing portrait of racism within the black community — light-skinned vs. dark-skinned — was co-produced by McCarter, Wilma and Long Wharf theatres and then played Seattle in 2002, winding up Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club. It recently played London.
Actress-writer Orlandersmith won an Obie Award for her one-woman show, Beauty's Daughter. Raw Boys is the first play Orlandersmith has written for more than two characters. It marks the first time she will not act in her own work.
The Wilma season will also include Tom Stoppard's Night & Day, directed by Wilma co-artistic director Jiri Zizka, Sept. 22-Oct. 31; the Philly premiere of Sarah Ruhl's The Clean House, directed by Daniel Fish, Dec. 1-Jan. 9, 2005; the East Coast premiere of Itamar Moses' Outrage, directed by Jiri Zizka, May 18-June 26, 2005; and an engagement of DanceBoom! Jan. 21-Feb. 6, 2005.
For more information about Wilma, visit www.wilmatheater.org.