Institute History


YELLOWMAN is a multi-character play that deals with the tragic relationship between a dark-skinned black man and his light-skinned son (thus Yellow Man). A male actor and I will perform the piece. The central event of the play is the son’s murder of the father. The play will take place as a theatrical trial. A series of characters that have known the accused and his victim will present their perspectives on what happened. The drama is an investigation into why such an accomplished black son would commit such a crime against his father.

The play explores the relationship between men—father and sons—and the violence that is often part of the struggle to become one’s own man. The subject of internalized racism is part and parcel of this story. The play explores the negative associations surrounding male blackness (how skin color and masculinity have become confused), as well as the complex social consequences of fair-skinned blacks’ relative privilege in white society. Though the characters in this play are black, the themes ultimately transcend color. YELLOWMAN grapples with the cultural and psychological obstacles of achieving an autonomous identity.
—Dael Orlandersmith

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]