The Prescott Joseph Center for Community Enhancement is presenting August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” starring The Lower Bottom Playaz, under the direction of Ayodele Nzinga.
The play will open Friday, July 13 and run through July 22 at The Sister Thea Bowman Memorial Theater at 920 Peralta St. in Oakland.
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is the first of two works by Wilson slated to be directed by Nzinga as a part of Theater in the Yard, Season 11.
The play the third of the Pittsburg Cycle by Wilson to be presented at The Sister Thea Bowman Memorial Theater in West Oakland. Although Wilson’s Cycle is set for the most part in the Hill District of Pittsburg, PA, he sets this work on the South Side of Chicago.
Chicago’s correlation to West Oakland as a migration destination along with the history of Chicago’s Black Belt and Oakland’s 7th St. as two of the country’s important North American African musical centers is obvious. In both, the North American African community lived similar lives with commons constraints and motivations.
Wilson’s raw and gritty expose of the American music industry offers a look at a community developed as a result of the Great Migration. The work is pushed by and pulled out of the music of people in transit on a quest to a life they can imagine but cannot touch. It is the music of loss and desire.
The music is a story in and of itself. But the people who bring the music are the heart of this piece.
For information and tickets call the box office at (510) 332-1319 or go on line to www.lowerbottomplayaz.com