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Civic Impact

Like a punch in the gut: Dutchman and conversations about race at Bricolage

"This play is like a punch in the gut," says Bricolage's Producing Artistic Director Tami Dixon, who co-stars in the current production of "Dutchman," which confronts race relations in America. "It will leave the audience speechless. But we didn't want to send them away like that."
So for the seven remaining performances through May 12 of this 1964 play by LeRoi Jones (now Amiri Baraka), Bricolage is hosting post-play conversations led by local conversation starters. They include Bernadette Turner of Addison Behavioral Care, who will lead dialog asking "How prejudiced are you?"; The Post-Gazette's Tony Norman, who will address "Is there only one way to fight a revolution?"; Dr. Kimberly Ellis, who will direct "The battle over black imagery in the 21st century"; and the group WWHAT’S UP? (Whites Working and Hoping to Abolish Total Supremacy Undermining Privilege), whose members will talk about challenging racism.
"Dutchman," a two-character one-act, involves a kind of Adam and Eve story between a white woman and a black man, taking place entirely in a subway.
"It took the theater world by storm" when it opened, Dixon says. "It pulled no punches. [Baraka] is more than honest."
She hopes the same will be said of people who stay for the post-play dialogs. Not that she found the subject of race relations in Pittsburgh easy to address herself. In planning the dialogs, "I felt a little inarticulate and paralyzed by this issue," she admits. "We don't even talk about [race] out loud …"
However, dialogs after the show's first week "have been so amazing and enlightening," she reports. "Our hope is that this is just the beginning. We don't want the conversation to end when the show closes."
Get tickets for the play here.
Do Good:
Get involved with Pittsburgh’s Black & White Reunion.
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Tami Dixon, Bricolage

Photograph by Jason Cohn.

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