Quick intimate play uncovers racism of 1960s era

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At the Just Off Broadway Theatre, KC Melting Pot provides a quick look into stereotypes, myth, and unanticipated results in a short one-hour play that definitely stuns the audience with its climax.

Nicole 1KC Melting P

“Dutchman” takes place on a train and basically involves two characters. Two of KC’s finest actors mount the challenge of bringing this story to local attention–Laura Jacobs and Frank Oakley, III. Jacobs plays an oversexed, crazed female temptress with a handbag full of apples…the reference to forbidden fruit. Oakley plays an unsuspecting African-American innocently riding the commuter train.

The story takes place in the 1960s possible just before or just after the Civil Rights Movement. Inter-racial dating was not as widely accepted as nowadays. The story pushes the limits with the idea of a white woman wanting a Black lover. It presupposes that all Black men want a white woman. The stereotyped fallacies are apparent in this play. The woman temps with the apple in a Garden of Eden motif and uses the apple to snare her victim. Oakley plays a mild-mannered gentleman trying to avoid the confrontation and the allure. But, all men have their breaking point, right?

Jacobs dominates the opening with her lurid and forceful sexual advances. Oakley plays non-committal. But just wait until Oakley unleashes his force and anger. The end will leave the audience stunned, for sure. No one can foresee the end. The play builds on stereotypes, taboos, and lust.

Director, Nicole Hodges Persley crafted a quick but beautiful glimpse into a grim situation in the play by LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka). By shining light onto past problems, there is much to be seen and evaluated. The show definitely needs audience support. Once seen word of mouth will bring the crowds.

The cast is: Laura Jacobs, Frank Oakley III, Anna Oakley, Timothy Burks, Richard J. Burt, Olrando Newton. The production crew is Nicole Hodges Persley, director; Rana Esfandiary, assistant director & set design; Laura Burt, stage manager; Troy Cox, assistant stage manager; David Ruis, dramaturg.

“Dutchman” is a beautifully, tight-constructed piece that lasts about an hour. The play is one that can spur discussion about where we were as a country and if we have progressed far from there or not. The play continues at the Just Off Broadway Theatre. Tickets may be purchased through their website. “Dutchman” runs through March 4.

Tags: Dutchman, Just Off Broadway Theatre, KC Melting Pot, Kansas City Theatre, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment

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