Thursday, March 29, 2007

Has King Hedley's Time Come?

Reverend Bruce Wall in Roxbury has issued a memorandum to tourists: "Don't Come To Boston." His reason is clear to anyone following the latest news; the murder rate is getting way out of hand in some areas of the city.

Curtis Sliwa of the Guardian Angels has decided to come and offer assistance, and though some residents and city officials have reservations about the Guardian Angels, (including Reverend Wall and our Police Commissioner,) there is also a universal acknowledgement that we may need all the help we can get.

Adrian Walker has a column outlining it here.

Signature Theatre in New York is currently running a revival of August Wilson's King Hedley II, and the critics seem to be much more taken with it than they were upon its first Broadway arrival.

John Heilpren, (who did praise on the occasion of its premiere,) writes in the Observer:


Its power resides in ecstatic visions and parables that pour from the gut of a disenfranchised people; its howl of black grief and chronicles of death foretold are terrible to witness.


I saw King Hedley II at a preview performance at Seattle Rep in 2000, sitting a few rows in front of the playwright and the director, (the late Marion Mclinton.) Before we went in, August Wilson went down the line and shook our hands.
The play takes place in 1985, (around the time Sliwa's Angels were gaining strength,) but Wilson's indictment of the "ritualistic" cycle of violence that poverty breeds premiered on regional stages while this nation was still flying high on the boom of the late 90's, (for all intents and purposes,) and its Broadway bow took place months before 9/11.

In neighborhoods in Boston crime is up and so are murder rates since the Huntington premiered Hedley, and I think it may be time for another local production.

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