A Black mayoral candidate on the verge of the business breakthrough of a lifetime must choose between his personal aspirations and his integrity in “Radio Golf” by August Wilson. Performances take place at A Noise Within, 3352 E Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, from Oct. 22 through Nov. 13. Previews begin Oct. 16.
A Noise Within (ANW) presents the final installment in Wilson’s “American Century Cycle,” with Gregg T. Daniel directing. This final chapter in Wilson’s 10-play cycle exploring the Black experience in 20th century America, “Radio Golf” plays out the continuing struggle between history and progress.
“How much do we owe the past in terms of remembering where we came from?,” asks Daniel. “Sure, we all want to get ahead, but what’s the price we pay for assimilation when it means losing parts of our culture? What is gained, and what is lost?”
Taken as a whole, the ten plays in Wilson’s monumental cycle span a period of 90 years, from “Gem of the Ocean” in 1904 to “Radio Golf” in 1997 — with nine of them set in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, where Wilson himself grew up. But they were not written sequentially and are not connected in the manner of a serial story. Each play stands alone.
“Audiences don’t need to be familiar with Wilson’s other plays to fully appreciate ‘Radio Golf,’” notes ANW co-artistic director Geoff Elliott. “But those who saw ‘Gem of the Ocean’ here in 2019 might recognize certain references. The plays in the cycle reflect and echo one another.”
Eventually, the company hopes to present the entire ten-play canon, a feat not yet achieved by any theater in the Southland.
Each of the works focuses on the major issues confronting African-Americans during each of the decades of the 20th century. “Radio Golf” was Wilson’s final work; he succumbed to cancer in 2005.
Performances of “Radio Golf” take place Oct. 22 through Nov.13 on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. (no 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Oct. 22, dark Thursday, Oct. 27).
Four preview performances take place on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m.; Wednesday, Oct. 19 and Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m.; and Friday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m.
Audiences are invited to attend a symposium with director Gregg T. Daniel prior to the preview on Wednesday, Oct. 19, beginning at 6:45 p.m.
The preview on Thursday, Oct. 20 is “Black Out Night,” an opportunity for audience members self-identifying as Black to experience the performance together along with a post-show reception.
To purchase tickets and for more information, call (626) 356-3100 or go to www.anoisewithin.org