Production of Baraka’s ‘Dutchman’ at multiple venuesWritten by John Dorsey | | email@example.com
When the play Dutchman was first produced, it was considered to be not only controversial, but truly shocking. The sexually charged tale of interracial politics and violence by famed beat poet Amiri Baraka offered a disturbing view of the issues faced by those living through the turmoil of the 1960s.
Now the play will make its way to the Collingwood Arts Center and the Ground Level Coffeehouse, under the direction of local poet Gary L. Bond. The Collingwood performance will take place May 11 and the Ground Level performance will take place May 20.
The production features poets Huntor Prey and Dorenda McDermand in leading roles. Bond is no stranger to the material, having directed the piece a number of times throughout the years.
“I first directed it in college and then at venues like UT, BGSU and Wayne State’s Hilberry Theatre,” Bond said. “The end monologue is really something, just very powerful. It’s vital when you decide to take on the piece that you become familiar with Baraka’s other works, particularly “Blues People,” which I told the actors to read. This is a piece that could happen anywhere; what’s important is that there are real beats to the play itself.”
The Collingwood show, which is a benefit for the Arts Center, will be in the basement of the building.
“Because of the lighting issues that we face in both locations, the shows will be very different, like night and day,” Bond said. “I want the whole experience to be very intimate, with 50 people in the audience at most. Working on this production has been different from my past experience, the actor I previously used as Clay was much too big, too strong. Though we could’ve used more time on this production, I’m just excited and I know that when the time comes, we will find it, and everything will come together.”
The original production first appeared at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village in 1964, and won the Obie Award. Tickets for both Toledo shows are $5. Performances are set to begin promptly at 8:30 p.m.