First Things

Something Dramatic

WMU to stage August Wilson play
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The Gem of the Ocean

An August Wilson play with a message about holding on to your ancestry in order to forge your future will be staged Nov. 15-24 at Western Michigan University’s Shaw Theatre.

Gem of the Ocean is the ninth work in Wilson's 10-play cycle recording the 20th-century black American experience. The play, whose title is the name of a legendary slave ship, is set in 1904 and begins on the eve of the 287th birthday of Aunt Ester Tyler, who has survived more than two centuries of slavery. When Citizen Barlow, a young man from Alabama who has committed a crime, comes to her home seeking asylum, she sets him off on a spiritual journey to find the City of Bones in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The show is recommended for mature audiences. Those under the age of 8 will not be admitted, including babes in arms.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 and 2 p.m. Nov. 24. Tickets are $18-$20 and available at wmich.edu/theatre/gem-ocean or by calling 387-6222.