Yellowman (play)

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Characters Alma
Date premiered January 10, 2002 (2002-01-10)
Place premiered McCarter Theatre
Princeton, New Jersey
Original language English

Yellowman is a play written by Dael Orlandersmith. It was the 2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist for drama.

Plot summary[edit]

Divided into five parts, the play details the relationship between Eugene, a very fair-skinned black man, and Alma, a large dark-skinned woman. Their story begins in their youth on the islands off the coast of South Carolina. During their youth, mainly covered in first part, Eugene and Alma deal with different vantages on the issues of race and class. In spite of this they become fast friends. During the second part, as they progress through adolescence and through their respective tragedies, Alma and Eugene's friendship crosses over into a more intimate relationship. The third part has a literal rift between the pair when, after graduation, Alma decides to go to school in New York and Eugene is left behind. Part four leads into the consummation of their sexual relationship when Eugene visits Alma in New York City six months later. The final scene has Eugene and Alma planning to marry. The death of his grandfather, also very fair, propels the story to its climax. Eugene inherits everything from his fair grandfather, which upsets his darker-skinned father. Eugene and his father fight, and Eugene finally kills his father landing himself in jail. Alma is left pregnant, and aborts the baby by pushing furniture at the play's close.

  • The play requires only two actors. All other characters are portrayed by them. They switch between several characters many times in virtually every scene.


Alma: aged 38–43. A large-sized black woman. Her complexion is medium to dark brown-skinned.

Eugene: aged 40–48. Very fair-skinned, tall, lithe-bodied, and almost feminine featured black man.

  • Orlandersmith played Alma in the original production in 2002.


  • Orlandersmith, Dael, and Alexander Street Press. Yellowman. Alexandria, VA: Alexander Street Press, 2004.

External links[edit]