Posts Tagged ‘The Hill District’

Pivot Play

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Syracuse Stage Producing Artistic Director Timothy Bond talks about the impact of writer August Wilson, specifically Two Trains Running, which is playing this month at the theater.  Syracuse Stage has run seven of Wilson’s ten plays that chronicle African American life in each decade of the 20th Century.

Bond, who is the director for Two Trains, said Wilson’s plays are “poetic blues operas.”

Facts and the Stories We Tell

Friday, December 23rd, 2011
“We develop the capacity to influence the stories we tell ourselves, so that they empower rather than undermine us.”
Tony Schwartz

Today I heard a wonderful story on NPR’s Tell Me More about an exhibit for the work of Charles “Teenie” Harris, a great visual story-teller. Thanks to some help  from the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Tey Stiteler, I got to check out a photo of Albert Mills, who was the first African-American detective in Pittsburgh.  Mills later retired to the Syracuse-area and I knew him from my previous job.

Here is a photo Stiteler found.

A Tale from the Hood

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
Walter Hood gives the 2011 Warner Selgiman Lecture at Syracuse University

Walter Hood gives the 2011 Warner Selgiman Lecture at Syracuse University

Designer, architect, artist and urbanist Walter Hood described some of nationwide design projects and the agrarian roots in modern day urbanism yesterday at SU’s School of Architecture.

Below is an excerpt form his talk, which focuses on the “Find the Rivers” project Hood did in Pittsburgh, PA.  The “Rivers” geographic location is the setting for many of the plays by August Wilson called the Hill District.

Hood, who is based in Oakland CA, was in town for the  2011 Werner Seligman lecture.

The Book of August

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

When it comes to an accurate portrait of African American life, site August Wilson’s cycle of plays examining the 20th century is a gift that keeps on giving.

This month Syracuse Stage produced Wilson’s Radio Golf.

Radio, set in 1990s Pittsburgh, revolves around Harmond Wilks (played by Richard Brooks) as he attempts to redevelop a blighted Pittsburgh neighborhood and parlay that venture into a run for mayor.  At the climax of the play the audience is left with a sense that change is coming, but not without a struggle, or a fight.

A “Talk Back” forum was held by the stage and the actors talked about the genius of Wilson and how his work always fosters further examination.

Leland Gantt (Radio’s Sterling) said that the actors were on a journey to excavate the truth in Wilson’s work (the last he produced before he passed in 2005).

During a celebration of August Wilson’s work at Syracuse University in 2006, Dramaturg Kyle Bass, said it best: “Wilson gave us back to us.”

Thomas Jefferson Byrd (Radio’s Elder Joseph Barlow), who appeared in Wilson’s  Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Syracuse Stage in 2009, described interpreting Wilson’s work on stage like eavesdropping on a conversation or peering thru a peephole at a family discussion. He said Wilson was able to avoid stereotypes by being true to the characters. “You know the truth when you hear it,” he said.