words by Randy Otto
Alma and Eugene, united by an affection for the Monkees, meet as children on the playground to college and beyond. Dael Orlandersmith’s Yellowman touches on the social struggles of these characters affected by this common thread running through American culture. Through the eyes of the two characters, Alma (Erica Bradshaw), a dark skinned black woman, and Eugene (Ryan Quinn), a light skinned black man, these struggles deepens as their friendship also deepens.
The dialogue initially is filled with the childlike innocence of the two youngsters, but soon other voices begin to emerge. These are the voices of friends and family members in their rural South Carolina town. The prejudices they begin to assimilate, threaten to drive a wedge into their relationship, but somehow they persevere. Throughout this heart wrenching story, audiences will be filled with a deep cultural history of small town insularity paired with sweeping dialogue and with vivid portrayals of the many characters by these two dynamic actors, Mimi Lien’s stage design, and the setting of the intimate Stiemke. Rep Artistic Director Mark Clements has stated one of his goals is to present plays that will leave a lasting impact with audiences.
The Milwaukee Rep’s Yellowman is at the Stiemke Theater through November 13th