Cover image for Yellowman ; My red hand, my black hand : two plays
Yellowman ; My red hand, my black hand : two plays
Orlandersmith, Dael.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Vintage, [2002]

Physical Description:
96 pages ; 21 cm
Geographic Term:
Added Title:
My red hand, my black hand.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3565.R5734 Y4 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS3565.R5734 Y4 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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These two raucously acclaimed new plays by Dael Orlandersmith, whom The New York Times has called "an otherworldly messenger, perhaps the sorcerer's apprentice, or a heaven-sent angel with the devil in her," confirm her reputation as one of the truly unique voices in contemporary American drama.

In Yellowman , a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, Alma and Eugene have known each other since they were young children. As their friendship blossoms into love, Alma struggles to free herself from her mother's poverty and alcoholism, while Eugene must contend with the legacy of being "yellow"--lighter-skinned than his brutal and unforgiving father. In My Red Hand, My Black Hand , a young woman explores her heritage as the child of a blues-loving Native American man and a black sharecropper's daughter from Virginia. Alternately joyous and harrowing, both plays are powerful examinations of the racial tensions that fracture communities and individual lives.

Author Notes

Dael Orlandersmith lives in New York City. She won an Obie Award in 1995 for Beauty's Daughter.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Here are two breathtaking, small-cast plays by a vibrant new voice in American theater. Yellowman, a Pulitzer Prize finalist that opened at the Manhattan Theater Club in October 2001, is a two-actor piece in which each actor plays multiple roles. Orlandersmith examines intraracial racism and its effect on friends and eventual lovers Alma and Eugene, chronicling their relationship from childhood to adulthood in spare, uncommonly beautiful language with a South Carolinian/Gullah inflection. Their families and "friends," fueled by alcohol and incomprehensible rage, bend this relationship to the breaking point. My Red Hand, My Black Hand, a piece for three actors (playing mother, father, and daughter), deals with interracial themes. Its musical language offers a mixture of driving blues (in particular, John Lee Hooker) and Native American rhythms. The mother is black, the father Native American. The daughter's telling of the stories of their lives is punctuated by comments from both parents. Actors in each play will need a strong, sensitive directorial hand, particularly if the racism of Yellowman is unfamiliar territory. But this is still terrific writing, and theater departments everywhere should take a look when these shows are released for amateur productions. Recommended for all libraries and advanced theater groups.-Larry Schwartz, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Moorhead (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.