cover photo by Dietmar Fritze


   “Stunning…genuinely chilling…a riveting evening in the theater… Strand is a truly theatrical writer.”
Washington Post

 In 1904 the city of Saint Louis hosted a World's Fair. One event was titled the “University of Man”, meant to celebrate the emerging science of anthropology and popular notions of biological evolution. “Race specimens” from around the world were gathered and brought to Saint Louis to be displayed for the crowds: Indians, Eskimos, Africans and other “rare” races, including, to much acclaim, the pygmies.

 A young southerner and self-styled African explorer, Samuel Phillips Verner, traveled to the Belgian Congo as a Special Agent for the Saint Louis Fair. He brought back with him several pygmies. One was Otabenga.

 The play, based on a true story, recounts the personal journeys of these two men through America at the turn of the 20th century, a society perhaps at the height of its power, its promise, its self-confidence, and its arrogance.


originally produced by Signature Theater, Arlington VA

6 M 2 F

I S B N: 0-88145-403-6



place a book order

read the first scene or scenes

place a full text .pdf order


return to home page