Monday, February 18, 2008


PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE BLACK REP( ABOVE:Erik Kilpatrick as Elder Barlow and Andre Sills as Harmond Wilks

LEFT: Darryl Reed as Roosevelt Hicks, Harmond;s business partner and Bianca Jones as Mame Wilks, Harmond's wife.

RIGHT: Kilpatrick and Reed in a scene from RADIO GOLF.

The radio was turned on to history at Black Rep

By Ma’at Atkins

The St. Louis Balck Repertory Company has had plenty of “firsts” including being the 1st AfricanAmerican company to have a mainstay in the country and has maintained that status especially during this past decade. Just last week, the Black Rep made another first as it became the first African American company (second theatre in general) to have completed all of the late August Wilson’s 10 “Pittsburgh” plays with RADIO GOLF (which runs til March 9 at the Grandel Square Theatre , 3610 Grandel Square Theatre).

GOLF was the final play in Wilsons decade cycle of plays that was completed before Wilson passed in October 2005.

In the Tony Award- nominated play, the setting takes place in the Pittsburgh Hills district office of the redevelopment company, Bedford Hills Redevelopment as a black attorney, Harmond Wilks (played by Black rep newcomer Andre Sills) runs for the city’s first black mayor and wants to redevelop the "blighted" area of the Hills District. Meanwhile, Wilks encounters members of that blighted community including Elder Joseph Barlow (played by Black Rep vet Erik Kilpatrick) the local handyman Sterling (played by Woody Award winning actor AC Smith) and discovers one of the homes that he intends to bulldoze fro that Urban Renewal project has a history connected with him.

Overall, The Black Rep’s version of GOLF (which name is a metaphor for the upper middle class’ pasttime while doing business and actor Darryl Reed's character Roosevelt's passion for golf) was a noble effort. Critically one of Wilson’s weaker of his ten plays, the Black Rep doesn’t stray from the original draft of the production with all of the trimmings including the signifying, the adult oriented language and the shortness of the production (less than two hours including intermission).

The interesting thing about GOLF (directed by Lorna Littleway, who has directed Wilson’s plays at the Black Rep) is its use of props for the message of urban renewal and the outside forces that influences (e.g. The Tiger Woods poster on the wall of the redevelopment center and the scene of Wilks golf clubs getting stolen being compared to his campaign of stealing homes for the eminent domain phases of development.).

Despite its shortcomings of character dimensions and development (especially of Sills character Hammond), the cast overall is solid (especially Kilpatrick’s).

It is evident that Wilson did not have much time to do drafts of this last play and that it was a rush job before his untimely passing, but GOLF’s significance was to complete the cycle and leave a historic mark on American theatre and that is enough to keep this production interesting and worth the seat to see.

For showtimes and ticket info please call 314.534.3810 or visit

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