Gem of the Ocean opens on the Trustus Main Stage on February 10 at 8:00pm, and runs through March 3rd, 2012.
About the show: "Gem of the Ocean is the first installment of August Wilson’s decade-by-decade ten-play chronicle dramatizing the African-American experience in the twentieth century. Gem of the Ocean launches audiences into Pittsburgh in 1904. Aunt Ester, a 285-year-old former slave, is a keeper of tradition and history for her people and a renowned cleanser of souls. The people who pass through her parlor and kitchen include Eli, Aunt Ester's protector; Black Mary, her housekeeper and protégé; Solly Two Kings, a former slave as well as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and scout for the Union Army; Black Mary's brother, Caesar, a constable; Rutherford Selig, a white peddler; and Citizen Barlow, a new arrival from down South who needs Aunt Ester to help him absolve the guilt and shame from a crime he's committed."
"An incident at the local mill has ignited the African-American community. A black man was accused of stealing a bucket of nails. Rather than confessing to a crime he didn't commit, he jumped into the river and drowned. This has made him a martyr to his co-workers who have gone on strike and are rioting. Caesar, the local law enforcement official, is in the middle of it. He's arrested many people and shot one."
"Against this turbulent backdrop Aunt Ester launches Citizen Barlow on a spiritual journey aboard the legendary slave ship, Gem of the Ocean, to the mythical City of Bones. There, Citizen begins to understand the story of his ancestors and faces the truth about his crime and the man he wronged."
Trustus Associate Artistic Director Dewey Scott-Wiley, known for her performance as the fiery Barbara in August: Osage County; is at the helm of Gem of the Ocean as director. Scott-Wiley, no stranger to the work of August Wilson, wanted to bring this American classic to Columbia audiences. Trustus Theatre jumped at the opportunity to produce a piece of literature and the show found a home in the theatre’s 27th season.
Joining with the NiA Company, Scott-Wiley collected an exciting cast of familiar and new faces to bring this show to the Main Stage. Playing the 285-year-old Aunt Ester is Jocelyn Sanders, known for both her directing and acting in many popular shows in Columbia. Trustus company members Jabar Hankins and Lonetta Thompson will be playing Eli and Black Mary respectively. NiA Artistic Director Darion McCloud will be playing Caesar Wilks. NiA Company members Rob McCue and Trustus newcomer Leonard Coaxum will be playing Rutherford Selig and Citizen Barlow. Gerald Hunt, technical director at Benedict College, will be taking the stage as Solly Two Kings. Undoubtedly this talented cast will bring all of the bravery and sensitivity necessary to tackle this classic by August Wilson.
Gem of the Ocean opens on the Trustus Main Stage on Friday, February 10th at 8:00pm and runs through Saturday, March 3rd, 2012. Shows on Thursdays start at 7:30pm, Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Sundays at 3:00pm.
Tickets are $20 on Thursdays, $22.50 on Fridays & Saturdays, and $17.50 on Sundays. Half-price student tickets are available 15 minutes prior to every curtain.
Trustus Theatre is located at 520 Lady Street, behind the Gervais St. Publix. Parking is available on Lady St. and on Pulaski St. The Main Stage entrance is located on the Publix side of the building.
For more information or reservations call the box office Tuesdays through Saturdays 1-6 pm at 803-254-9732.
Visit www.trustus.org for all show information and season info.
Photos by MICHAELA PILAR BROWN
Jocelyn Sanders, Leonard Coaxum, and the cast of GEM OF THE OCEAN
Leonard Coaxum, Jocelyn Sanders, and the cast of GEM OF THE OCEAN