Dutchman

by  LeRoi Jones

Short Play, Drama  /  2m, 1f

This is the first of Jones' (aka Amiri Baraka's) successes, and the cause of his critical acclaim. A lascivious blonde tries every vulgar way she knows to pick up and seduce a decent black youth in a subway car. Failing, she resorts to humiliating him. This breaks the facade of his decency, as he descends to her level for a spitfire fight and decrees that murder of the whites by the blacks "would make us all sane." She stabs him and, as other whites dispose of his body, primps for her next Black victim.

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 1f
  • Duration

    Duration

    75 Minutes
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Obie
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Dutchman is an emotionally charged and highly symbolic version of the Adam and Eve story, wherein a naive bourgeois black man is murdered by an insane and calculating white seductress, who is coldly preparing for her next victim as the curtain comes down. The emotionally taut, intellectual verbal fencing between Clay (the black Adam) and Lula (a white Eve) spirals irrevocably to the symbolic act of violence that will apparently repeat itself over and over again. Jones/Baraka's play is one of mythical proportions, a ritual drama that has a sociological purpose: to galvanize his audience into revolutionary action.

Published in tandem with The Slave.

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Accolades

  • Winner of the 1964 Obie Award for Best American Play

Reviews

REVIEWS

"A fierce and blazing talent." - N.Y. Herald Tribune

"...a pivotal play not only at a particular juncture in 20th-century American culture but also in Mr. Baraka’s increasingly politicized career." - New York Times

"The playwright's Black Nationalist leanings show through in Dutchman's incendiary take on 1960s race relations. This is a subject that never gets old, as evidenced by the audience's vocal reactions to the play's denouement" - nytheatre.com 

Keywords

Black issues

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $45 per performance

Production

Details

  • Duration: 75 Minutes
  • Setting: A subway car in New York City. 
  • Additional Features: No intermission

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

2m, 1f

LULA - An alluring white woman.
CLAY - A polished young black man.
SUBWAY PASSENGERS 

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Cast Attributes

  • Multicultural casting
  • Room for Extras
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Resources

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Authors

LeRoi Jones

LeRoi Jones (aka Amiri Baraka) is a poet, writer, political activist and teacher. He was born in 1934, in Newark, New Jersey. He graduated from Howard University in 1953, and published his first major book of poetry, Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note, in 1961. He founded Totem Press in 1958, which first ...

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Dutchman premiered at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village, New York in March 1964. 

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