The action of the play takes place on a New York City subway between a young black man, Clay, and a flirtatious white woman, Lula. The play focuses on the racial and sexual tension between the two, catapulting back and forth from various extremes and ending in a tragedy.
The two main characters send verbal barrages back and forth between them. Lulu especially criticizes Clay for being an “accomodationist” wearing the clothes and having the education of wealthy white men. Some critics see this as the voice of the Black Nationalist Baraka and his disdain for these so called accomodationists. Lulu finally manages to drive Clay into a fit of rage in which he delivers a blistering, angry monologue. Lulu has finally heard what she wanted to hear, and she promptly stabs Clay to death. The play ends as Lulu is measuring her next young black victim.
The title is taken from the myth of “The Flying Dutchman”, as if Lulu is doomed to sail forever.
“The Dutchman” gave birth to a new rise in African American literature, often known as the Black Arts Movement. The play seemed to open the doors for many new African American writers and playwrights, and they took full advantage of the opportunity. “The Dutchman” opened on Broadway in 1964, and surprisingly enough won an Obie award. It was later converted into a film in 1966, and with other plays cemented Baraka’s place in theater and literature.
After the publishing of the play Jones converted to Islam and changed his name to Amiri Baraka in order to leave behind his “slave name”. His work in the 1960’s became progressively more radical until Baraka left behind Black Nationalism in favor of Marxism, which would define some of his later works. The lasting impact of “The Dutchman”, however, cannot be denied.
An extract of the play was performed at an event in London Town called Monologue Slam, who had their official launch on January 26th 09, that brought something new to the capital.
Monologue Slam events are a Goldrush Entertainment production that have been created to give actors an alternative outlet to display their talent to industry professionals, creating relationships and opportunities that will enrich and may possibly lead to furthering their career.
So… if you are an aspiring actor, professional actor, hobbyist or in the theatre and film industry Monologue Slams is where you need to be.