At the start of the show, Alma (Kelly Renee Armstrong) explains the role women have played within the African-American community of South Carolina’s Lowcountry (a people known as the Gullah). She tells of the sun, the sweat, the physical labor, and the pain women endured. And she relates how their bodies affected the way they felt about themselves. Many wished to be “light,” both in terms of weight and of complexion, she says, and it’s this desire that lies at the heart of the drama that follows. In the region, lines are clearly drawn between light-skinned and dark-skinned African-Americans, and the tension between the two groups forces them to live separately. The heart of the play follows Alma and her childhood friend Eugene (Jon Hudson Odom), who fall in love despite being from opposing sides. The name of the play comes from the term “high yellow,” a pejorative term often hurled at Eugene, who inherited his mother’s light complexion.