Gem of the Ocean
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Arriving amidst a COVID shut-down to assume his position as only the second Artistic Director of the Tony-Award-winning, fifty-two-year-old company TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, nationally known director Tim Bond has had to wait almost two years to bring his vast experience and unique insight as a director to his new company’s stage. What better first production than by the playwright whom he describes as “our American Bard,” August Wilson, six of whose ten-play American Century Cycle Tim Bond has already directed. If the current sensitive, soaring, and in every respect sensational staging of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean is any indication of what is to come, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley and the entire San Francisco Bay Area have a spectacular future of Broadway quality theatre under Tim Bond’s leadership.
In Gem of the Ocean, August Wilson begins his decade-by-decade chronicling of the African American experience at 1839 Wylie Avenue in Pittsburg’s Hill District, an address close to where he lived as a boy and a house and neighborhood that are the heart and soul of all but one of the ten, stirring stories. Although the plays were not written in order – in fact Gem of the Ocean was his ninth of the twenty-three-year project – today the flow from the first to the tenth is a masterpiece detailing the heritage and culture, the trials and tribulations, and the triumphs and accomplishments of a people who entered the century barely out of slavery and ended it still living with the legacy of that bondage in much of their everyday lives.
For my complete review, please continue to Talkin’ Broadway.
Rating: 5 E, MUST-SEE
Gem of the Ocean continues through May 1, 2022, in production by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA. Tickets are available online at www.theatreworks.org, by call 650-903 6000 (24 hours), or by visiting the Center’s box office Wednesday – Thursday, noon – 4 p.m. and Friday – Saturday, noon – 6 p.m.
Photo Credit: Kevin Berne