Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mining the Past Yesterday and Today, Via the Mill Creek Valley

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mining the Past Yesterday and Today, Via the Mill Creek Valley

Article excerpt

When speaking with playwright Eric LeRoy Wilson, one overriding word continually pops in and out of the conversation a history.

Of course, there's nothing unusual about that when one considers a Wilson track record that includes "Strands," "On the Outside Corner," "Tragedy in Ragtime," all plays that examine pivotal flashpoints of the African-American experience. The St. Louis native's latest work, "The Place I'm In: Evolution of a Neighborhood," continues this documentary trend and will be premiered by Historyonics Theatre Company this weekend at the Missouri History Museum.

An extension of the society's "Where We Live" series, Wilson's commissioned play looks at the evolution of St. Louis' Mill Creek Valley neighborhood through the eyes of three characters: a young man fighting cholera in the mid-19th century; a female jazz/blues singer of the 1920s; a demolition laborer sent to tear down a church in 1959. The characters speak to one another across time, and, as Wilson notes, their dialogue represents much more than individual voices. "I read a wonderful piece by the president of the Historical Society {Robert Archibald} about a neighborhood store that remains the same while everything around it changes," Wilson said in a recent phone conversation from his Los Angeles home, where he stays busy running his own theater company. "The store became the people's link to the past. I started thinking about that concept, and tried to infuse that spirit of going back and listening to what a neighborhood says a how it teaches us about where we are right now. I started wondering, `What would this neighborhood say to us today?'" Wilson's script allows Mill Creek Valley to relate its own sense of spirit and community, but the dark side is exposed as well: disease, racism, economic stagnation, indiscriminate destruction of property. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.