9 March 2011
In August Wilson’s play,
, the play centers around a group of individuals
dealing with the redevelopment of the Hill District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
character, Harmond Wilks, is a real-estate developer looking to build an apartment complex.
is also planning on running for mayor as the first black mayor of Pittsburgh.
His wife, Mame, is
a driven and ambitious public relations representative who seeks a job working for the governor.
Harmond’s business partner, Roosevelt, is the vice president of a bank and an avid golfer.
play is set around the office of Bedford Hills Redevelopment, Inc. which is run by Harmond and
Roosevelt, and begins with Mame, Harmond, and Roosevelt discussing his upcoming candidacy
for mayor and publicity tactics.
Soon, a new character, Sterling, is introduced.
He is a self-
employed construction worker who used to go to school with Harmond and got in trouble for
robbing a bank.
He offers to help with the construction of Harmond’s apartment building, and
Harmond tells him that he will be in touch.
The plot starts to pick up in the play when Roosevelt returns from overseeing the soon-to-
be construction site and reports that a stranger was painting one of the houses planned for
Roosevelt recounts that the stranger claimed that he owned the house even though
Roosevelt told him that it was their property ready to be torn down in a matter of days.
stranger is revealed to be an elderly man by the name of Elder Joseph Barlow, or Old Joe.
comes into Harmond’s office asking for a lawyer.
After much confusion, Harmond and
Roosevelt realize Old Joe is the stranger that Roosevelt mentioned earlier.
They try to convince
Old Joe that the house is now their property and that painting it is not only futile but also
defacing private property, but Old Joe does not budge in his belief that the house is rightfully his
and leaves the scene.
Roosevelt then tells Harmond that Bernie Smith, a wealthy man and avid
golfer as well, has asked to partner with Roosevelt and buy WBTZ radio station.
immediately points out that Bernie is just using Roosevelt for the minority tax incentive, but
Roosevelt claims that this is his big break at success.