Radio Golf Program
Greetings from Peace Mountain Theatre Company
Happy New Year 2022! It is so good to greet you in this new year. Yes, we are still dealing with COVID-19, in all of its variants. But, if you are vaccinated and boosted, things are in most cases, much better. The main thing to celebrate is that theatre is back after almost two years in the dark. We missed presenting to you, our audience, and you missed seeing us live on the stage. We know this by the reception shows on Broadway and here in Washington received this past fall. Our own show, Disgraced, performed here at The Writer’s Center, was critically acclaimed to sold-out performances.
We hope you enjoy our current production of August Wilson’s play Radio Golf, a winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. The play addresses issues faced by black leaders in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, as they work to revitalize the neighborhood they grew up in without destroying an important historic part of the community. The play reflects the gentrification issues that face so many attempts to revitalize our cities, in this case, those facing the issues are the Black leaders in the community.
We complete this season’s triad of shows in May with Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Three Tall Women. You won’t want to miss this wonderful masterwork portrayal of three women – aged and facing senility, middle-aged and cynical, young and self-assured. The Wall Street Journal reported it as “An extraordinarily brilliant new play…the best, most forceful play [Albee] had given us.”
I want to thank the cast and crew of Radio Golf, The Writer’s Center, and our volunteers for making Radio Golf a success. We could not have done it without them! I also want to thank our supporters: those who have subscribed as Friends of Peace Mountain Theatre Company and those who have made contributions to us. We are a non-profit theatre and depend on your financial support, as well as ticket revenue, to put on these productions. I also want to thank you, our audience, for your patience and cooperation with our COVID-19 protocols, put in place to protect you, our cast, and our staff.
Hal Freed, Producer and President
Peace Mountain Theatre Company
Playwright: August Wilson
August Wilson (1945 -2005) was born Frederick August Kittel in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and became one of the most acclaimed playwrights in America. His father was a German immigrant and his mother, Daisy Wilson, was African-American. Although he grew up in an ethnically diverse neighborhood inhabited predominantly by Blacks and Jewish and Italian immigrants, his biracial heritage made him feel as if he fit into neither Black nor White culture and he struggled to find a sense of belonging well into his adulthood. He dropped out of several high schools, spent a short time in the Army, and worked at various odd jobs as porter, dishwasher, short-order cook, and dishwasher.
With it all, Mr. Wilson was a voracious reader; his extensive use of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh resulted in its later awarding him an honorary high school diploma. He never formally studied theater and often said that he “got his education from the four B’s: the blues; the art of painter Romare Bearden and the writing of poet Amiri Baraka; and writer/poet Jorge Luis Borges. ‘The foundation of my playwriting is poetry,’ Wilson once said.”
He is best known for his series of ten plays, collectively called The Pittsburgh Cycle or The Century Cycle, which chronicle the experiences and heritage of the Black community in the Hill District of Pittsburgh. These plays, one for each decade of the 20th century, vividly bring to life the voices of the people, the cadence and rhythm richly expressing the joy and anger, humor, and sadness that was the daily life in the Hill District over the past100 years. Radio Golf was the last play of the cycle, premiering in 2005. Sadly, it was also the last play to be written by August Wilson; he died only a few months after its premiere. His work has been recognized with the highest awards in the world of theatre: Pulitzer Prizes for Fences and The Piano Lesson; New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, and Jitney; and the Tony Award for Fences. At Mr. Wilson’s death, playwright Tony Kushner wrote, “The playwright's voice in American culture is perceived as having been usurped by television and film, but he [August Wilson] reasserted the power of drama to describe large social forces, to explore the meaning of an entire people's experience in American history.”
Director's Notes: Eleanore Tapscott
With Radio Golf, esteemed playwright August Wilson completes his Pittsburgh Cycle, a decade-by-decade chronicle of the African-American experience. Set in 1997 in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, the action of the play takes place in the Bedford Hills Redevelopment office, where an upper-middle-class African-American politician has a plan to revitalize this community and become the city’s first black mayor. The play asks us to consider not only what price assimilation, but how do we reconcile the tensions that arise when political and business success threaten family history and community heritage.
For me, what has been most exciting about working on this play is the remarkable attention with which August Wilson depicts these characters who offer various perspectives on individual achievement and the pursuit of business/professional success versus acknowledging one’s heritage and doing right for the larger community. Wilson writes with such power and poetry. The language in this play is incredible. Each of the play’s five characters has at least one moment of grand poetic language where they bare their souls and share their humanity. That is a key point in Wilson’s work – showing that African-Americans are people with their own culture and history distinct from other cultures, but fundamentally having the same needs as others. We want to be part of the larger community. We want to be valued and seen. As one of the characters in the play says: “I am not invisible. I am here.”
Radio Golf, as are all the plays in the cycle, is relevant now because we continue to fight forces that are against us. Blighted communities with limited (or no) resources, bad air, tainted water. We continue to battle that our history in this country, with its legacy of racism, be told.
ELDER JOSEPH BARLOW
The Hill District, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Office of Bedford Hills Redevelopment, Inc., in a storefront on Centre Avenue
Technical and Production Support
Set Designer/Master Carpenter
Assistant to the Master Carpenter,
Assistant Stage Manager
Properties and Set Dressing
Sound Designer/Light, Sound Operator
Hal Freed (Producer): Hal brings a career’s worth of program management experience in the business world as well as leadership positions in non-profit organizations. He has been the producer of many PMTC productions including Collected Stories, All My Sons, A Delicate Balance, Lost in Yonkers, A Shayna Maidel, Other Desert Cities, and, most recently, Disgraced. Hal is also President of the Peace Mountain Theatre Company.
Eleanore Tapscott (Director): Eleanore is a classically trained actress and director, who has directed for various metro-DC theatres. Most recently she directed Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye at Dominion Stage, August Wilson's Fences at The Little Theatre of Alexandria, and Lynn Nottage’s By the Way, Meet Vera Stark at The Colonial Players of Annapolis. Ms. Tapscott is also the Executive Director of The Actors’ Center in Washington, a service organization created by and for theatre artists of all types. She thanks PMTC for the opportunity to stage the last play in August Wilson’s masterful Pittsburgh Cycle, a series of 10 plays charting the African-American experience throughout the 20th century.
Ariana Colligan (Stage Manager): is very excited to be supporting backstage and a part of the production staff of Radio Golf. She has worked in various production capacities at theatre companies around the metropolitan DC area, including Strand Theater Company, Providence Players, Globe Openstage, and recently as a sound operator with GALA Hispanic Theatre. Most recently Ariana appeared onstage as Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! with the Providence Players. She is very grateful for this opportunity!
Steve Leshin (Set Designer/Master Carpenter): Steven has led and contributed to building sets for many theatre companies in the Maryland-DC area; he is glad to work with Peace Mountain Theatre Company again, having served as Master Carpenter or Set Designer for several productions including All My Sons, A Delicate Balance, A Shayna Maidel, Other Desert Cities, and, most recently, Disgraced.
Hamza Elnaggar (Assistant to Master Carpenter, Assistant Stage Manager): Hamza will be familiar to PMTC audiences as he performed in PMTC’s most recent production, Disgraced, in November 2021. He also appeared in two of our Educational Outreach Programs, The Other and The Opioid Crisis. More recently, he was in Sandy Spring Theatre Group’s virtual production of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband.
Don Slater (Lighting Designer): Don studied technical theatre with a concentration in lighting at the University of Pittsburgh. He was Quotidian Theatre Company’s resident lighting designer for over 20 years and has worked with a number of other companies in the Washington metropolitan area and in venues ranging from the DC Arts Center to Wolf Trap. Most recently he was lighting designer for PMTC’s production of Disgraced in November 2021.
Matthew Datcher (Sound Designer): Matthew is the sound designer at Hexagon. His sound designs have been heard in A Christmas Story at Rockville Little Theatre, and Doubt and Hobson’s Choice at Quotidian Theatre Company. Most recently he was the sound designer for PMTC’s production of Disgraced in November 2021. He has also appeared on stage in Like the Last at Silver Spring Stage, Hotline and Goode Grief at Montgomery Playhouse, and War of the Worlds at Sandy Spring Theatre Group.
Andy Reilly (Properties and Set Dressing): After an extended internship with the Anacostia Playhouse, during which he served as Properties Designer and Set Painter, Andy became the Facilities Manager at the Playhouse. As a lifetime DC resident, Andy has served as both Costume Designer and Production Assistant for Capitol Hill Day School's annual 6th grade musical and designed costumes for Shakespeare For The Young.
Stephenie Yee (Costume Designer): Stephenie has a background in both film and theater, and is also an experienced costume designer in the DMV. She is happy to be back costuming for PMTC for the third time, having been the costume designer for Other Desert Cities and A Shayna Maidel. Among other previous costume design credits are: She Kills Monsters and Yellow Face (Silver Spring Stage); Man of God (Strand Theatre Company), and Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike (Sandy Spring Theatre Group). Stephenie is also a member of Peace Mountain Theatre Company Board.
Peace Mountain Theatre Thanks Our Supporters
We appreciate the generous contributions of the following supporters:
Accessible Beltway Clinics
Kaizo Health Chiropractic Rehabilitation
Sharon Gross, Long and Foster, and Christie’s Realtors
FRIENDS OF PEACE MOUNTAIN THEATRE COMPANY
Sunitha Venugopal, in memory of Peter Caress
Harold and Laurie Freed
Suzanne and Aaron Auerbach
Judd Kessler and Carol Ferris
Ken and Yvonne Paretzky
Peri and Fred Schuyler
Rita and Barry Wertlieb
Marla and Vic Cohen
Fran and David Levin
Carol and Gary Plushnick
Hanna Lee Pomerantz
Marcia and Abe Akresh
Harriet and Jerry Breslow
Louis and Kathy Pangaro
Phyllis and Allen Weltz
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Laurie T. Freed
Al Bolden (WBTZ Radio DJ Voice)
Allan and Hannah Fisher
Gary and Stephanie Knauer
Howard University, Department of Theatre Arts
SAVE THE DATES
Three Tall Women
by Edward Albee
Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays,
and Sunday Matinees
May 12, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, and 22
at The Writer’s Center