August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean

by  August Wilson

Full Length Play, Drama  /  5m, 2f

"'Gem' has passages of transporting beauty. Mr. Wilson is at the top of his form." - New York Times

"Slow-burning, powerfully spiritual drama." - Variety

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August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean

by  August Wilson

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    5m, 2f
  • Duration

    Duration

    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Period
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Set in 1904, August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean begins on the eve of Aunt Esther's 287th birthday. When Citizen Barlow comes to her Pittsburgh's Hill District home seeking asylum, she sets him off on a spiritual journey to find a city in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Gem of the Ocean is the ninth work in Wilson's ten-play cycle that has recorded the American Black experience and helped to define generations. The Broadway run starred Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad as Aunt Esther.
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Reviews

REVEIWS

"Gem has passages of transporting beauty. Mr. Wilson is at the top of his form." - New York Times

"Slow-burning, powerfully spiritual drama." - Variety 

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Videos

  • Phylicia rashad performs scene from Gem of the Ocean
  • Scene 1 from Court Theatre's Gem of the Ocean
  • Scene 2 from Court Theatre's Gem of the Ocean
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Keywords

Black issues

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre

Cautions

  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes
  • Caution Smoking Smoking

License details

  • Minimum Fee: £67 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

    This title is currently restricted. Please submit a license request to determine availability.

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1900-1910
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: The play is set in 1904, the Hill District, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the parlor of Eli, Aunt Ester and Black Mary’s home.

Casting

5m, 2f
ELI – Aunt Ester’s gatekeeper and longtime friend of Solly.
CITIZEN BARLOW – A young man from Alabama who is in spiritual turmoil. Late twenties/early thirties.
AUNT ESTER TYLER – A very old, yet vital spiritual advisor for the community.
BLACK MARY – Aunt Ester’s protégé and housekeeper. Late twenties.
RUTHERFORD SELIG – A traveling peddler who is a frequent visitor of the house.
SOLLY TWO KINGS – Suitor to Aunt Ester, former Underground Railroad conductor. Sixty-seven.
CAESAR WILKS – Black Mary’s brother and local constable. About fifty-two.
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Cast Attributes

  • Role(s) for Black Actor(s)

Resources

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Authors

August Wilson

August Wilson (April 27, 1945-October 2, 2005) authored 

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Gem of the Ocean premiered at the Goodman Theare in Chicago, IL in April 2003 under the direction of Marion McClinton.

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