Dutchman is a play that, for me, is difficult to
explain. I donít know whether to say it is strange, it has a message,
it is an oxymoron, or it is moralistic, or all of the above.
The play was first produced off-Broadway in 1964 and
won the Obie Award for the playwright Amiri Baraka. The highlight of it
for me was strictly the two outstanding actors who complete the cast.
Tanna Frederick, an actress of extreme talent who has appeared in many
versatile roles at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica,
stars as Lula. Her co-star, Siaka Massaquoi, portrays Clay, a Black
American. He is an actor I had never had the privilege of seeing prior
to this production. Though I found the play not to my particular taste,
I found two actors performing their roles brilliantly.
The play takes place on a train. Clay is a passenger
when Lula boards the train. She immediately comes on to him. He seems
pleased at first, but after a time, he becomes angry and feels she is
putting him on. This is basically the entire plot until the climax,
which cannot be revealed without destroying the entire play for anyone
coming to see it. Directed by Levy Lee Simon, he, Frederick, and
Massaquoi, are all graduates of the University of Iowa where they met.
Dutchman had a very short run at the Edgemar Center
for the Arts and there is only one performance remaining which is
Wednesday, July 29, at 7 PM. The theatre is located at 2437 Main St. in
Santa Monica. To make reservations, call (310) 392-7327, or go online at
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