“Gem of the Ocean”: Plowshares Theatre Company presents the Michigan premiere of August Wilson’s drama about faith, family and the search for one’s purpose in life, 7:30 p.m. Fri., 2 & 8 p.m. Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Through July 7. Boll Family YMCA Theatre, 1401 Broadway, Detroit. 313-744-3181. www.ymcadetroit.org. $27.50-$36.
“Radio Golf, August Wilson’s final play — and the conclusion of his Century Cycle series — is perhaps his most complex. With its references to other characters in other plays (especially Gem of the Ocean, the “first” play of the series but the penultimate one written), the 2005 drama could use annotations. The moral conflicts are also more nuanced. Good, bad, right, wrong — all have shadings of meaning that some of the characters never do understand.”
“In 1979, August Wilson set out on a theatrical journey that reached its goal in 2005, just before his death, with the 10th play of his Pittsburgh Cycle. That play was “Radio Golf,” set, like all but one of the other plays, in the Hill District.
Now, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company also completes a journey, staging “Radio Golf” in its 10th year, completing all 10 Pittsburgh Cycle plays in the order in which they were written.”
“Courtney’s film & TV work include: CBS’ “Extraordinary Measures,”Hurricane Season, Final Destination 5, The Divide, The Preacher’s Wife, Space Cowboys, Hamburger Hill, Huck Finn and The Hunt for Red October, ABC/Disney’s “Flash Forward,” Showtime’s “Blind Faith” and “Twelve Angry Men” with the late George C. Scott & Jack Lemmon, August Wilson‘s “The Piano Lesson” for Hallmark, HBO’s Emmy-nominated “The Tuskegee Airmen,” TNT’s “The Closer,” NBC’s “ER” (playing husband to his real life wife Angela Bassett) and NBC’s long-running “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” in which he played asst. DA Ron Carver.
“What would have happened to Raynell if Wilson had included even one more act in Fences?”
“PITTSBURGH (AP) — The childhood home of the late playwright August Wilson has been included on the National Register of Historic Places.”
“Ten years and 10 August Wilson plays have come and are nearly gone, and Mark Clayton Southers is back on the stage. In the past decade, the founder and all-purpose leader of Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre has designed all the sets while his company completed Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle of plays, one each year. In that decade, he has quit his steel mill job, he has been theater coordinator at the August Wilson Center, he has directed at other regional theaters and helmed “The Jonny Gammage Project” here at home. But now he’s learning lines again as Harmond Wilks in “Radio Golf,” which will give his company the boast of being the first to perform all 10 plays in a 10-year span.”
“The late playwright August Wilson grew up on the hard-scrabble streets of the Hill District. The seeds for “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” “The Piano Lesson,” “Fences” and the seven other plays that constitute his famed “Pittsburgh Cycle” were nurtured in the heart of a community that has always had a strong sense of place.”
“The National Park Service has placed the childhood home of the late playwright August Wilson, at 1727 Bedford Ave. in the Hill District, on the National Register of Historic Places.
The property is owned by the Daisy Wilson Artist Community, a nonprofit that took the namesake of Mr. Wilson’s mother to establish a multiuse site for creative and public arts programming.”
I was hesitant to post this review, because it contains some errors and curious claims.
However, I try to represent commentary on Wilson as it exists. Two specific errors include the spelling of “Bynum Walker” as “Bynam Walker” (which, by itself, is not egregious). However, in paragraph three, Wilson’s “Radio Golf” is identified as “Radio Days,” which is quite peculiar. Not enough fact checking.
Finally, there is this: “Of these works, ‘Joe Turner’ is among the best. The latter plays – ‘Seven Guitars,’ ‘King Hedley II,’ ‘Gem of the Ocean’ – are just as textually rich but longer and less concise.” While I do agree that “Joe Turner” is Wilson at his best, I have no idea what “less concise” means. I would, in fact, argue that Wilson became more concise as he matured. I believe some of the early plays had to be workshopped for extended periods to time to bring them in at under three hours. And if you don’t understand the concise messages of “Seven Guitars,” “Hedley,” and “Gem” then I don’t know what to tell you.
Here is a stronger excerpt (with “Bynum” spelled correctly):
“Herald Loomis is in limbo. With his young daughter in tow, he’s been searching for his wife whom he hasn’t seen in ten years. He comes to a boardinghouse owned by Seth Holly and his wife Bertha (Keith David and Lilas White). One of the residents there, the shaman, “binder,” and storyteller Bynum Walker (Glynn Turman), sizes up Loomis (John Douglas Thompson) and – more eloquently than any reviewer could ever phrase it – tells him that he’s lost his song and needs to find it again.”