A Preview of ‘Radio Golf’ Which Opens This Friday, August 12th @8PM at Hard Bargain Players

Radio Golf was August Wilson’s last play and was completed in 2005. I came across it about 8 years ago which was right around the time the United States was about to elect its first African American President. The parallels between President Obama and the central character, Harmond Wilks, the prospective first African American Mayor of Pittsburgh, are uncanny in terms of expectations and responsibilities.

Director Terry Spann. Photo by David Harback.
Director Terry Spann. Photo by David Harback.

What made this story particularly intriguing to me though is that August Wilson asks us to not only consider all of the pressures of being the “first” at something, but add to that having to confront a major moral crisis that threatens everything you’ve worked your entire life to achieve. Wilson sets the story up in a way that’s very compelling. It is ridiculously good storytelling.  I said to myself, this story must be told. I have to direct this!

In Radio Golf Harmond Wilks, an ambitious and highly successful real estate entrepreneur, is on the verge of announcing his candidacy for mayor when he discovers that he may not actually own one of the houses slated to be torn down for his multi-million dollar project. As he is trying to decide what to do, others learn of the problem and all have their own opinions on how he should proceed. Harmond is a very disciplined man who always follows the plan. However, as secrets are revealed the way ahead for Harmond becomes even more complicated.

There are some serious moments where issues prophetically similar to those in the 2016 US Presidential Campaign are raised. This adds a sense of relevance and reality to the production. There are also many hilarious moments that make me laugh every time I see them. The language is fresh, crisp and has that classic poetic flair that only August Wilson can provide.

The cast of 'Radio Golf': L to R: Mack Leamon (Sterling Johnson); Baakari Wilder (Roosevelt Hicks); DeJeanette Horne (Harmond Wilks); Lolita Marie (Mame Wilks); and John Askew (Elder Joseph Barlow). Photo by Timagnus Traylor.
The cast of ‘Radio Golf’: L to R: Mack Leamon (Sterling Johnson); Baakari Wilder (Roosevelt Hicks); DeJeanette Horne (Harmond Wilks); Lolita Marie (Mame Wilks); and John Askew (Elder Joseph Barlow). Photo by Timagnus Traylor.

Radio Golf has some of the most talented performers in the local area in our cast: DeJeanette Horne (Blues for an Alabama Sky) as Harmond Wilks; Lolita Marie (Doubt, a Parable) as Mame Wilks; Baakari Wilder (Master Harold and the Boys) as Roosevelt Hicks; Mack Leamon (Coming Home) as Sterling Johnson; and John Askew (Two Trains Running) as Elder Joseph Barlow.

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The production opens this Friday, August 12th at 8 PM and plays through Saturday, August 27, 2016 at the Hard Bargain Amphitheater. The Theater in the Woods is located approximately 2 miles west of Indian Head Highway (Route 210) at 2001 Bryan Point Road, Accokeek, MD. There are directions on the website: Click on ‘Directions’ on the homepage.

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Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. on August 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th, 26th, and 27th. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students, seniors and members of the Alice Ferguson Foundation. For reservations, directions, and/or more information, please see the Hard Bargain Players website, or email hbplayersboxoffice@gmail.com.

NOTE:  This production is rated “M,” for Mature Audiences, due to language!

This preview is by Director Terry Spann.