Back to All Events Theatre Night Out: August Wilson's King Hedley II

  • Hattiloo Theatre 37 South Cooper St Memphis, TN, 38103 United States (map)

Written by August Wilson
March 19 - April 12, 2015
Contains explicit language and themes


It is 1985. Ronald Reagan is in the White House and the nation is in the midst of an economic expansion. You'd never know it in Pittsburgh's Hill District. Here, as in many of America's inner cities, life is hard. Unemployment is on the rise; drugs, gangs and violence fill the streets. This is the world of King Hedley II. At 36 years old, this ex-convict is at war with his past, his present and the uncertain future. He is scarred, grieving, raging and determined to find dignity and bring something good and new out of his aching world. He plants seeds in the dirt of his tenement backyard, feeds his dream of owning his own business by any means necessary, and fights for the life of his unborn child. King is a man reaching for success, colliding with the limitations of the world around him and those within himself. In the eighth play of August Wilson's “living time-line” of the 20th century, the audience returns to the tenement backyards of Seven Guitars as the thread of some of its characters are picked up 40 years later. King's mother, Ruby, the former nightclub singer, is 62 and being recourted by Elmore, an old lover, a slick, rambling gambler. The harmonica player, Canewell, is now called Stool Pigeon and serves as the prophet, keeper of the key and seeker of the song. Drummer Red Carter is gone, but his son Mister is a constant in King's life as the mysteries of Seven Guitars are revealed and he is untethered from the self he'd come to know.