Dutch Masters Review - An Unexpected Thriller

Sure to strike a nerve as it explores the issue of race with a light but insightful touch, multi-award-winners playwright Greg Keller and director Guillermo Cienfuegos offer audiences a satisfying thriller in DUTCH MASTERS. From the impeccable script to flawless acting by the two principals, DUTCH MASTERS fits perfectly into the intimate theater scene and delivers a play worthy of the meaningful concepts which it raises.

Corey Dorris and Josh Zuckerman - Photo by Ed Krieger

Set in New York City in the summer of 1992 – within striking distance of a racially incendiary series of events only months before – DUTCH MASTERS presents an escalating tension-filled exchange between two strangers who meet on a subway. When African-American Eric (Carey Dorris) approaches Caucasian Steve (Josh Zuckerman), the obvious factor of Eric’s race quickly blends with the subtext of fear and mistrust – and even terror - as Steve tries desperately to ignore, avoid, and finally escape from Eric, who seems interested in nothing more than a pleasant conversation and sharing a joint. Perhaps the two might be embarking on a friendship of sorts? The dominant, aggressive Eric subdues Steve’s many misgivings, and the two strike off for a bizarre fun-and-games evening. But there are agendas hidden within agendas, and a cat-and-mouse scenario quickly develops.

Corey Dorris and Josh Zuckerman - Photo by Ed Krieger

After reading the script and seeing the challenges that it presented, director Guillermo Cienfuegos indicated in an earlier interview that he “needed” to direct this piece. True to his quest for excellence, Cienfuegos has expertly helmed the production, ably assisted by brilliant portrayals of the two characters. Laughter mixes with terror, while audiences stay riveted on this emotional roller coaster. Everyone involved in this production is right on target – from a skilled director who understands the dynamics involved to actors who clearly give their “all” to the piece and successfully project the emotional vicissitudes inherent in their roles.

Corey Dorris and Josh Zuckerman - Photo by Ed Krieger

Scenic designer David A. Mauer has done an extraordinary job. He delivers a clever set worthy of the weighty issues in the play. Ric Zimmerman’s lighting, Christopher Moscatiello’s sound, and Christine Cover Ferro’s costumes are right on target. DUTCH MASTERS not only deals creatively with the hot-button issues of race and economics but also digs into important factors which may underlie some of these issues. The audience will surely come away from the play well entertained – but also ready to engage in discussions about the critical points introduced in DUTCH MASTERS. This is a must-see play which will involve, delight, and challenge audiences.

Corey Dorris and Josh Zuckerman - Photo by Ed Krieger

DUTCH MASTERS runs through October 3, 2016 with performances at 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Mondays, and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. Rogue Machine performs upstairs in the Met Theater located at 1089 N. Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles, CA. Tickets are $34.99. For information and reservations, call 855-585-5185 or go online.    

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