The August Wilson classic hits the stage of Krannter Center for the Performing Arts
Written by Edward Huang
Gem of the Ocean is a production written by renowned American playwright August Wilson. It premiered a while ago, but its name and legacy lives on in those that admire theater today. On a chilly Thursday night, the play made its way to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Gem of the Ocean is a play that combines both acting and dancing to tell a story that takes place in the early 1900s in Pittsburgh.
As I entered the theater and walked to my seat, I analyzed the stage set up. The cool, dim lights gave the house a cold feeling. The house was empty and the background was a picture of snowy mountains. The wooden walls or borders were of an ashy dark wood, which made the house seem warn down and old. Once the play began, the lights inside the house lit up, creating a warm and rusty environment. The characters in the play wore a variety of outfits. Women wore blouses with long skirts that reached their ankles. Some men wore white shirts similar to tuxedo shirts, long pants with suspenders, long trench coats, and hats. Others, like the sheriff, wore a suit to portray wealth.
One character I found interesting was Citizen Barlow. The other characters have mentioned a man who stole a bucket of nails multiple times, and no one knew who it was. However, when talking to Aunt Ester, Citizen confesses by pulling out a bucket of nails from his bag. In the beginning of the play, we see Citizen desperately trying to get money and did not take responsibility for his actions. Yet, throughout the first part of the play, we see Citizen’s character development. He confessed what he kept to himself, listened to Aunt Ester’s advice, and began to seek for a better life.