YELLOWMAN is a multi-character play that deals with the tragic relationship between a dark-skinned black man and his light-skinned son (thus Yellow Man). A male actor and I will perform the piece. The central event of the play is the son’s murder of the father. The play will take place as a theatrical trial. A series of characters that have known the accused and his victim will present their perspectives on what happened. The drama is an investigation into why such an accomplished black son would commit such a crime against his father.
The play explores the relationship between men—father and sons—and the violence that is often part of the struggle to become one’s own man. The subject of internalized racism is part and parcel of this story. The play explores the negative associations surrounding male blackness (how skin color and masculinity have become confused), as well as the complex social consequences of fair-skinned blacks’ relative privilege in white society. Though the characters in this play are black, the themes ultimately transcend color. YELLOWMAN grapples with the cultural and psychological obstacles of achieving an autonomous identity.
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