How I Learned What I Learned
August Wilson (Co-Conceived with Todd Kreidler)
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
As an elderly, Black man emerges from the theatre’s exit door with aged limp but also with a dignified and sure stature, he intently and silently watches projected, vintage black-and-white film clips of the neighborhoods and their peoples of Black America’s twentieth-century history – the film clips bookended by a waving, American flag. As he watches, we hear the words sung:
“What is America to me?
A name, a map, or a flag I see.
A certain word, democracy.
What is America to me?”
As the gentleman slowly climbs the steps to the stage to center himself behind a desk and face us, we realize that those words in many ways define the question that one of America’s greatest playwrights, August Wilson, sought to answer in writing his monumental American Century Cycle, ten plays representing the ten decades of our nation’s Black history in the twentieth century. Before us stands the embodiment of that great man as TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents in August Wilson’s own words and writing How I Learned What I Learned (co-conceived with Todd Kreidler), an autobiographical play that the playwright wrote and first premiered three years before his death in 2002. In the hands of one of San Francisco Bay Area’s most-celebrated, longest-career actors, Steven Anthony Jones, How I Learned What I Learned is a captivating, enlightening, and often wonderfully humorous must-see gem.
For the rest of my must-see review, please continue to Talkin’Broadway.
Rating: 5 E, MUST-SEE
A Theatre Eddys Best Bet Production
How I Learned What I Learned continues through February 3, 2024, in production by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View California. Tickets are available online at www.theatreworks.org, by email at email@example.com, or by phone Tuesday – Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. at 1-877-662-TWSV (8978).
Photo Credit: Jenny Graham of Oregon Shakespeare Festival