Dutchman and Guilty or Not Here I Come bring to the Eisemann Center enlightened and thought provoking entertainment sure to make theater goers think about the current issues of race relations.
Dutchman, Amiri Baraka’s shocking one-act play, was first presented in New York City in 1964 and won the Obie Award for best off-Broadway play that year, putting Baraka into the public limelight. He continued his mission of black consciousness-raising through a prolific output of drama, poetry, essays and political activity. Galvanizing audiences, Dutchman is an emotionally charged, highly symbolic version of the Adam and Eve story with Clay, a naïve conservative black man and Lula, an insane and calculating white seductress.
Guilty or Not Here I Come is the world premiere presentation of a social commentary on the relationships between police officers and Black Americans today. This “in your face” tragedy is a story of misunderstandings, misgivings and misconceptions that swirl around today’s social issues. Written by Rockne Ragsdale in 1979 while a student at Mountain View College, Guilty came to the attention of officials at Boston University where Ragsdale received a scholarship and continued to write plays on the topic. Ragsdale says this was his way of dealing with misunderstanding upon misunderstanding both he and his generation of Black Americans suffered. Being presented professionally for the first time at the Eisemann Center, Guilty’s scenario could be set in 2015 as well as 1979.