Posts Tagged ‘Dutch Masters’

Race, Class, and the Subway: “Dutch Masters”

Posted September 10th, 2013

DutchMasters2Regardless of people’s individual feelings on the state of race relations in America, whenever we hear the “n” word spoken out loud, we seem to obsess over the mouth that speaks it and the context in which it is spoken. In Greg Keller’s play Dutch Masters, brought to the 2013 Fringe Festival by Azuka Theatre, the “n” word comes in the very first sentence and continues to be used throughout the dialogue between the play’s two characters, both young men about the same age who meet on a New York City subway in 1992. One white, one black, the characterization and setting might suggest that the play itself is about race, but it’s not. Its essence delves much deeper than the color of its characters’ skin.

Kevin Glaccum, producing artistic director of Azuka, first heard of the play when one of his students brought him a copy shortly after its debut at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in 2011. The play found its way to him again this spring, this time via Keller’s agent. Glaccum was considering whether Azuka would produce a play for Fringe this year, and as he read the manuscript for a second time, he thought, “If we decide to do this play, it’s perfect for Fringe.”

Known for choosing plays “a little outside of the mainstream,” says Glaccum, Azuka’s most recent season included an outrageous contemporary comedy (Pookie Goes Grenading), a drama centered around Frank O’Hara and Billie Holiday (Everyone and I), and a 1920’s fable play set in a clock shop (Failure: A Love Story). Glaccum and Azuka seem to thrive on mixing it up–producing various genres and bringing fresh voices to the Philadelphia theatre scene.

The company itself has come a long way since Glaccum was cast as an actor in their first show in 1999; they’ve been sharing the Off-Broad Street Theater at 1636 Sansom Street with Inis Nua Theatre Company for the last two years. “Before that,” Glaccum tells me, “we did twenty four shows in eleven different locations; it was a lot harder for people to keep track of where we were.” Glaccum has been in his current role for ten years now working closely with Mark Andrews, one of Azuka’s original founders.

Glaccum says that Dutch Masters sucked him in: “As I read it, I felt anxious, threatened, an ominous sort of feeling. I feel like audiences won’t know what’s going to happen next.”

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If You Don’t Know Now You Know: Mini Artist Profiles at Philly Post

Posted September 3rd, 2013

sobelle-the-object-lesson-2Philadelphia magazine’s Victor Fiorillo runs down 10 notable FringeArts performers worth checking out this year.

It’s a pretty good quick guide to some awesome shows this year, actually: Martha Stuckey of Pay Up, Gunnar Montana of Basement, McKenzie Maula of A Doll’s House, James Michael Baker of Ballad of Joe Hill, Geoff Sobelle of The Object Lesson, Jess Conda of Eternal Glamnation and Pay Up, Scott Sheppard of Go Long Big Softie, Mary Tuomanen of St. Joan, Betrayed, Kevin Glaccum of Dutch Masters, and Brian Sanders of Hush Now Sweet High Heels and Oak.

If you’re looking for somebody to pick some especially adventurous shows for you, you couldn’t do much better than Victor’s list.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Photo of Geoff Sobelle by Lars Jan.