Friday, October 16, 2009

Radio Golf

Tonight, Jeff and I went to see Radio Golf performed at the Penumbra Theatre in St Paul.

Radio Golf is a play authored by August Wilson, who is an African American playwright with many awards and accolades. He is most well known for his "Cycle Plays" of which Radio Golf is the last in a series of ten. Each of the cycle plays depict for us a segment of African American life in the U.S. by decade. The ten play cycle starts in 1900 and ends near 2000, with Radio Golf.

Here's the blurb about this play from the Penumbra website:

"It's 1997 and Harmond Wilks wants to become Pittsburgh's first black mayor. His ticket to win the election rides on redeveloping the "Hill District," the neighborhood he grew up in. But when the past begins to catch up with him, secrets get revealed that could be his undoing. Harmond discovers that victory will come with a price. Join us for this timely look at race and American politics.

Starring: Terry Bellamy, James Craven, Abdul Salaam El Razzac, Austene Van, and Kevin D. West."

Jeff recently read this play for his English class at St Thomas. While going to see the play performed was not part of his assignment, it was something that we both desired to do.

We're both so glad that we went! Since Jeff had previously read the play, the character development became more alive, and he was able to better understand the motivation of several of the characters better.

The first act of the play was pretty lighthearted, filled with plenty of laughter. After intermission, the play took on a much more serious nature, and everything that Harmond Wilks had worked for began to crumble. His career, relationships, and life began to fall apart, leading to heated confrontations with his wife and best friend/business partner.

This was an excellent play. We would definitely recommend it to others, so if you're in the St Paul area and looking for something to do, the play runs for another week (until Oct 25), and I believe there are still a few seats available.

One of the highlights for us came after the play had ended. We hung around to see if we could catch any of the actors. We briefly congratulated Austene Van on the portrayal of Mame Wilks and expressed how much we enjoyed the play.

We also shook hands and spoke with James Craven for several minutes. His portrayal of Harmond Wilks was quite powerful. Jeff mentioned how much emotion he was able to put into the play that wasn't necessarily expressed in the written word of the play. He explained to us that bringing that level of human emotion was something that the acting company did. This is true of all plays. Those performing really bring it alive. He also commented that we should be sure to tell our friends about the play and that there were still some seats available before the final performance on the 25th. We were fascinated to learn that after a few weeks reprieve, this company was then going to Pittsburgh to perform the play as part of the Aunt Esther Cycle for the Inaugural Season of the August Wilson Center. Awesome!

We also met Kevin D West (Roosevelt Hicks). After telling him how much we enjoyed his performance, he asked Jeff what his name was and then introduced himself as Kevin West and said he was pleased to meet us. Wow!

It was incredible to meet these actors, and as we were leaving Jeff wondered out loud why no one else really stayed late to meet the cast. I don't think it is commonplace to do because we were the only ones except for a handful of people that personally knew the cast members. Jeff really felt that meeting the actors, shaking their hands, and introducing ourselves, really connected us to the play.

What a fun date!

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails