Two years ago, I paid sixty bucks and got myself a season's pass to Center Stage. Six shows for $60 - that's about the price of going to the movies. The shows were excellent - Permanent Collection, Elmira's Kitchen and Two Gentlemen of Verona were all outstanding, and the rest were pretty good as well. I said at the time that it was one of the best $60 I've ever spent.
This season, I bought the same Center Stage six-show pass for the same price, but the results have been disappointing. October's Hay Season was funny, but King Lear was a bore and Once on this Island was so insipid that I walked out. I was so tired on the night of The Murder of Isaac that I went to dinner but gave my ticket for the show to someone else (and, from talking to my friends later, this was the right move.) While I never regretted buying the season pass, I began to think that maybe next year I should spring for the the extra twenty bucks and do Everyman Theater (where I've still never been).
However, that ticket paid for itself tonight, with the performance of Radio Golf.
I love August Wilson's plays. I know a few of them very well, most notably Fences, but the only one I've seen live is Gem of the Ocean. It was certainly good, but I was way up on the second level and Phylicia Rashad was a tiny figure on the Broadway stage below. So seeing Radio Golf was my first real experience with a Wilson stage (it's odd that I'm calling the Baltimore stage real and the Broadway stage artificial, but I just feel like theater should be experienced viscerally, not way up in the rafters).
The play was awesome. I recognized the things that make me like his plays so much - the long funny narratives, the poetic dialogue, the morally ambiguous characters - and just came away from it feeling that there are few things better than live theater when it's done well. I've also now made it a goal to find a production of Fences somewhere on the east coast and go see it sometime before I teach the play again next fall.
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