Aunt Ester Takes Center Stage in a Celebration of August Wilson Works

By Carter, Alice T | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 11, 2009 | Go to article overview

Aunt Ester Takes Center Stage in a Celebration of August Wilson Works


Carter, Alice T, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


As Talvin Wilks envisions it, the "Aunt Ester Cycle" performance series could be the start of something big.

Wilks is the curator of the performance series that began Tuesday and continues through Nov. 22 at the August Wilson Center, Downtown.

It celebrates the work of Pittsburgh playwright August Wilson through an exploration of Aunt Ester, a character whose name and spirit are evoked in several of the plays from his 10-play chronicle of the black experience in the 20th century. She appears in only one -- "Gem of the Ocean."

"Gem of the Ocean" and a conversation with actors and directors who have brought Aunt Ester to the stage opened the series on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The series continues through Nov. 22, with performances of Wilson's "Two Trains Running" and "Radio Golf," plus "Reconstructing 'King Hedley II,'" a director-led exploration of scenes from that play, and three performances of "The Women of the Hill," a newly created performance piece about the experiences of black women who live in the Hill District.

The initial intention was celebratory, Wilks says.

"The whole idea is that it's a festival," he says. "It's grass- roots. It's networking. It's national.

"The idea was to have an annual festival with a different focus. The goal is that it will be developed through a collective, a consortium of African-American theaters."

That meant including theaters and performers from around the nation as well as those here in Pittsburgh.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, St. Louis Black Rep performed its 2007 production of "Gem of the Ocean." On Saturday and Sunday, Penumbra Theatre will perform the production of "Radio Golf" that it staged in October at its home in St. Paul.

To advance the August Wilson Center's core mission of supporting local theaters and artists, Wilks included two Pittsburgh-based productions:

"The Women of the Hill," a newly commissioned work by Wilks and Ping Chong, who served as co-writers and co-directors for an ensemble piece that grew out of conversations with female residents of the Hill District.

Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company's 2008 production of "Two Trains Running" that plays tonight and Friday.

Wilks and Chong are long-term collaborators who have created eight similar productions that focus on multicultural communities and issues.

"It's a project that's very dear to me. ... The idea of giving voice to a community is important to me in terms of social action and social justice issues. The dividend is you get to know a community," Chong says.

What evolved was a multi-layered ensemble piece in which six black women who range in age from 36 to 74 tell their stories through music, words and motion.

"It's a celebration of history and community," Wilks says.

"It's deceptively simple but incredibly powerful," Chong says. While it's likely to attract blacks, Chong hopes a larger community will attend and see the Hill District and its residents in a different light.

To bring "Two Trains Running" back to life, director Mark Southers had to replace three of the original production's actors. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Aunt Ester Takes Center Stage in a Celebration of August Wilson Works
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    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.