Theater Review: King Hedley II at Bishop Arts Theater Center
King Hedley II By: August Wilson
Directed By Laterras R. Whitfield
Review By: Carla Lacy
I was fortunate enough to be asked by my good friend Shawn Williams of Dallas South to visit a play this past Saturday. He asked me to write a review for submission on Dallas South. I was honored that he would even consider asking my opinion! Little did I know, that I would the soon feel that same excitement/pride/ joy and, Yes, honor on Saturday night.
My guest Terrance and I strolled in to the Bishop Arts Theater Center (home of TeCo Theatrical Productions) lobby not quite knowing what to expect. We entered the dark theater, to find the play already in progress. As the first moments passed I thought, all of these actors look so young… but I watched on. Terrance leaned over and whispered, “Are they students?” “I guess so” I expressed, but from the characters that leapt from the stage you may not know it.
As I began to read the program I learned that these young actors and actresses were part of the T-An-T (Teenagers And Theater) Acting Troupe! Yes, these were high school and Jr. High School students, but this was no children’s play!
The play is set in 1985 Pittsburg, PA, and King Headley II has just been released form a 7-year sentence for murder. He seems to have all the intentions of making himself into a success, but just can’t seem to find the way to making that happen. He struggles throughout the play with the ghosts of his father, while desperately and dangerously trying to change his future.
He faces the same struggle that many face today: coming out from despair with high hopes for the future. As demonstrated by King, it is a difficult task to change your life, without first changing your mind.
All of the performers were extremely talented, and tackling this play was no easy feat! They dealt with adult issues that were surely beyond their experience, yet they were able to bring the characters and their issues to life.
Two of the future stars whose characters seemed to leap off the stage were Stool Pigeon, and Elmore played by Jr. High student Clifford Cummings and High School student Amir Razavi. When you hear talk of “reach” for an actor –range of effective action, power, or capacity; to get or come to a specified place, person, condition, etc; or to succeed in making contact with, influencing, impressing, interesting, convincing– these students are well on their way to having it! Well done.
In all this was joy to witness, and I am eager to see what’s in store for the next production.
There is quite a bit of adult language and some violence, so I didn’t find it suitable for children. I had to work my way through the teen’s use of such strong words.
Summer Camp is available for kids 6-17yrs. 7am-5pm M-Th. I have already printed the application for my own little one. Only 50 spots available!
King Hedley II
Remaining Shows: April 30, May 1&2
Bishop Arts Theater Center
215 South Tyler Street
General Admission Seating, 8PM Nightly
All Seats $15 in advance, $20 at the door (plus service fee)
(Thursday, Friday & Saturday performances only)
Call the box office at 214-948-0716 for more information