Theatre Morgan takes a revolutionary look to present day issues

Benjamin McKnight

Morgan State University’s theater department presented an evening of one-acts in the play the “Dutchman & The Last Revolutionary” this past weekend.

The play was directed by former The Wire actor and current Morgan professor Philip Royston Burgess and written by Leroi Jones, Imamu Amiri Baraka and Levy Lee Simon. Morgan students Juwan Hensley and Aaron Miller, and Towson senior Kathleen Whitney played the main characters.

The play was broken into two parts, focusing on two time periods in which the black community were racially targeted; the 1960s, when Clay (Hensley) was targeted by a white woman named Lula and the present day Mac (Hensley) was being targeted by the CIA for being too “aware.”

Burgess said that the play “tells the stories of the journey of the black man in America pre and post-signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.”

In Dutchman, Clay finds himself going back and forth with a young white woman who ends up stabbing him. Both characters portrayed the perfect personas of a black man and white woman in America at that time. The way Lula treated Clay and others on the train shows the audience the white woman’s hunger for power over the black community.

“[Lula] didn’t have any power over anyone in the 60’s because she was a woman but the only person she did have power over was a black man,” Whitney said.

In The Last Revolutionary, Mac and Jack (Miller, who also played the conductor in Dutchman) share the different perspectives of the black man in America in 2013. Mac was a pro-black revolutionist, who was conscious of the governments target on him and other black men. Jack was the black man who was equally conscious but caved into the white man’s ways because he felt he was done being “poor and depressed.”

Both men knew the CIA and FBI were targeting their people but both went different routes in their lives, making them see the world differently. In the end, however, they are able to come together despite their difference in views.

Miller mentioned that although Clay and Mac’s characters was supposed to be played by two other people, Hensley filled the spot for both characters by reading the script on stage, an unorthodox method that may be frowned upon in the theater world.

The next Theatre Morgan produced play will be “X” in the spring.