Playwright August Wilson, who died of cancer last weekend at age 60, celebrated the black oral tradition in an epic ten-play cycle dramatizing 20th-century African-American life, including this lyrical comedy set in a Pittsburgh diner in 1969. The action is minimal but profound, focused on the hesitant romance between a young ex-con and the restaurant's put-upon waitress. But mostly this is an ensemble storytelling piece, as the characters sip coffee and share their tales of history and legend, racial injustice and black-on-black scandals. Pegasus Players--the company that introduced Chicago audiences to Wilson's work with its 1988 staging of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom--gives Wilson's beautifully constructed stories a muscular urgency that makes them both funny and moving. In Wilson's drama, words are action, and these actors make the most of them. a Through 10/30: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Pegasus Players, O'Rourke Performing Arts Center, Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson, 773-878-9761. $17-$25.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jennifer Girard.