By Face Off Theatre Company
KALAMAZOO, Mich. – With the greater willingness of people of all colors and backgrounds to stand up against inequities since George Floyd’s death nearly two years ago, the ever socially-conscious Face Off Theatre Company devotes the first play of our 2022 season to the harmful effects of colorism to continue the conversation on tough racial issues. “Yellowman” will be presented Feb. 18-20. It was written by award-winning, African-American female playwright Dael Orlandersmith.
“As an arts organization that prioritizes education and activism through our work, we are excited to use this emotional drama to facilitate dialogue around strongly held perceptions about the Black community and within the Black community that are problematic,” says “Yellowman” Director Marissa Harrington, who is artistic director for Face Off Theatre. A talkback follows every performance.
“I do believe that colorism is a HUGE issue. I recently had a conversation with my seventh-grade daughter regarding what's considered ‘beautiful’ within our community. It was very enlightening and sad at the same time. Kids are receiving messages early on about accepting (or not) their skin tones. Colorism is just as harmful as sexism, ageism, ableism, homophobia and body shaming.”
Playwright Dael Orlandersmith was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Drama Desk Award nominee for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Actress in a Play for "Yellowman" in 2002.
Harrington says she loves that this play also explores universal themes such as self-love, friendship and dysfunctional parent/child relationships.
The dynamic two-person cast stars Tanisha L. Pyron, one of the six Black women who
co-founded Face Off Theatre, and Yasir Muhammad in his second show with us. Muhammad made a memorable company debut in last summer’s show-stopping piece, “Pipeline,” about the school-to-prison pipeline. “Yellowman” is the first of four plays in Face Off Theatre Company’s 2022 season, which runs from February through November.
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19; and
2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20 at Dormouse Theatre, 1030 Portage St., Kalamazoo, located at the corner of Lake and Portage streets. We use a pay-what-you-can model. For tickets: faceofftheatre.com.
NOTE: Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to attend. Also be advised the production contains adult language and subject material.
About Face Off Theatre Company
Face Off Theatre Company of Kalamazoo has been committed to thought-provoking Black theatre and the development of playwrights, actors and directors of color since our founding in 2015. We draw audiences and talent from throughout Southwest Michigan.
About the playwright
Dael Orlandersmith is an Obie, Guggenheim and PEN Award-winning playwright and actress. She has authored a number of plays, including "Monster," "The Gimmick," "The Blue Album," "Bones" and "Until the Flood." "Yellowman" was commissioned by and premiered at Princeton, New Jersey's McCarter Theatre in a co-production with The Wilma Theater, Philadelphia, and Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, Connecticut. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Drama Desk Award nominee for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Actress in a Play for "Yellowman" in 2002.
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Photo credits: Tanisha L. Pyron and Yasir Muhammad (courtesy photos)