Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011

A Drama of Family and Skin Tone

Milwaukee Rep Stages YELLOWMAN

By Russ Bickerstaff
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The Milwaukee Rep opens its latest this week. There isn't a whole lot to give it that specific Rep feel . . . two actors make their Rep debuts with the show, which is directed by accomplished regional director May Adrales. It looks like a remarkably compelling drama from a few years back.

Dael Orlandersmith's Yellowman tells a classic romance cast against contrasting skin colors. Light-skinned Eugene (Ryan Quinn) becomes romantically involved with dark0skinned Alma (Erica Bradshaw.) There are issues that come to light in and within both characters' families, but the issue of race relations in the south make this considerably more than a modern interpretation of Romeo And Juliet.

While each of the two actors are making their Rep debuts here, Quinn is no stranger to the area. He's from Racine.  Both Quinn and Bradshaw have done quite a bit of work all over the country. Here they're working with a script that isolates the story primarily on the two of them. Audiences see the entire world through their eyes as manifest through the dialogue of accomplished poet and playwright Dael Orlandersmith, who played the role of Alma years ago.

The story opens in South Carolina. Alma is growing-up in poverty. She receives a scholarship to study at Hunter college in New York. Eugene lacks direction in his life. The lives of the two intersect and interweave in a drama that appears to be every bit as much about a couple of people as it is about the complex social factors at work between two people.

The Milwaukee Rep opens its season at the Stiemke Studio Theatre with Yellowman September 28th through November 13th.

 

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