We chatted to Aaron about starring in Dael Orlandersmith’s Yellowman at the Orange Tree Theatre.
Hi Aaron, could you explain a little bit more about what Yellowman is about? Alma and Eugene met in the schoolyard as children and in the play they share their memories of growing up side by side but worlds apart. And how their separate battles with those around them in South Carolina affect them. They struggle to love themselves and, therefore, also each other in an environment that has been designed to keep people divided.
What caught your attention about Dael Orlandersmith’s play? t’s fearless writing – it just gets under the skin of these issues in a way that might make you want to close your ears or look away. That makes it an incredibly powerful piece.
How have you found working on the production so far? It’s just a dream to work on something like this. I’ve loved mining the text. There is just so much in there you could keep breaking it down forever. At the same time, it forces you to level with the work and be as fearless as the writing, which can be very humbling. It makes me love my job so much!
How does it feel to be performing at the Orange Tree Theatre? I think it’s a lovely theatre. I’ve been wanting to work here for a long time. Now I am, I feel very at home here! And something about working in the round, in a really intimate space, feels perfect for this play.
How have you found working with Diane Page? When I auditioned for this play, it was my first in-the-room theatre audition for over three years because of Covid, and I’ve been doing more screen stuff over the last few years. I was SUPER nervous and the stakes felt high because I love the piece so much, but I instantly felt at ease with Diane could see how much she also loves the piece. She has this amazing body of work, but kind of makes creating brilliant theatre look easy! Basically the hype is real.
What can audiences still take away from this play? Maybe they’ll take away an appreciation for the world we currently live in, while also acknowledging there’s still a long way to go. The themes of generational trauma really highlight how important it is to do the work of breaking cycles. It’s a confronting but incredibly rich play.
By Emma Clarendon
Yellowman will play at the Orange Tree Theatre from the 5th September until the 8th October.