Radio Golf


Radio Golf is a play by American playwright, August Wilson, the final installment in his ten-part series, The Pittsburgh Cycle. It was first performed in 2005 by the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut and had its Broadway premiere in 2007 at the Cort Theatre. It is Wilson’s final work.


The plot involves Harmond Wilkes, an Ivy League-educated man who has inherited a real estate agency from his father, his ambitious wife Mame, and his friend Roosevelt Hicks want to redevelop the Hill District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The project, called the Bedford Hills Redevelopment Project, includes two high-rise apartment buildings and high-end chain stores like Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Barnes & Noble. Harmond is also about to declare his candidacy to be Pittsburgh’s first black mayor. Roosevelt has just been named a vice-president of Mellon Bank and has been tapped by a Bernie Smith to help him acquire a local radio station at less than market value, which is possible through a minority tax incentive. A complication arises when Harmond discovers that the house at 1839 Wylie, slated for demolition, was acquired illegally. Harmond offers the owner of the property market value for the house, but the owner refuses to sell. Harmond decides the only way to proceed is to build around the house, which will require minor modifications to the planned development, and calls the demolition company to cancel the demolition. Roosevelt sees no reason to delay since no one but Harmond, Roosevelt, Mame, and the house’s owner know the truth, a view Mame supports. When, on the day of the demolition, which Roosevelt has put back into motion, Harmond refuses to be swayed from his stand, Roosevelt announces he will be buying Harmond out and Bernie Smith will be helping him. Harmond accuses Roosevelt of being Smith’s “black face” and the two argue over the consequences of Harmond demanding changes in the development plans and if Roosevelt is allowing himself to be used by Bernie Smith. Harmond tells Roosevelt to leave the Bedford Hills Redevelopment office, which is owned by Wilkes Realty. The scene ends with Harmond leaving the office to join the group of Hills residents at 1839 Wylie protesting the demolition.




I Ain’t Gonna Tell You

Several times in ‘Radio Golf’ the character of Old Joe responds to a question with, “I ain’t gonna tell you.” They sound like simple enough questions that could have simple answers but Old Joe sees the depth and complexity in everything so there are no simple answers. As I consider writing about the ‘Radio Golf’ staged reading process I can hear a simple question – so, how did it go? And part of me wants to answer, “I ain’t gonna tell you” because there is so much to say! It was such a quick but complex journey – an express train ride through multiple cultures, challenging language and a wide range of acting experience. The process began, of course, with the audition. Turn out for the audition was small – adequate but not robust. We saw a few strong actors – tried and true artists I have worked with before – and a number of newcomers, some with experience, some without. Because Almasi is eager to develop and train theater practitioners, I did not want to get on the phone and start calling people who had not come to the audition and offer them parts. So casting was done from the audition which meant that I had a cast of widely varying experience levels. This added a layer of challenge to the work but it kept Almasi true to one of its primary principles. In a debriefing session a couple of days after the performance the actors all said that they felt like a family during our brief but intense 6 day rehearsal period. They said they did not feel competitive with one another and this could well be in part due to the mixed actor training levels. The less experienced actors learned a great deal working with their more seasoned fellow cast members. The experienced actors gained fresh perspectives working with newcomers | CONTINUE READING