New African Grove Theatre Company
Gem of the Ocean
Set in 1904, this was New African Grove Theatre Company's fourth production of an August Wilson play. It opened July 13th, 2012. It was directed by Nic Starr.
1839 Wylie Street in the Hill District is the home of Aunt Ester, a 285-year-old former slave, who is a keeper of tradition and history for her people and is said to be a cleanser of souls. The beginning of the play is marked by the arrival of Citizen Barlow, from down South who needs Aunt Ester to help him absolve the guilt and shame from a crime he's committed. Meanwhile, down at the local mill a black man is accused of stealing a bucket of nails.
Rather than confessing to a crime he didn't commit, he jumps into the river and drowns. This makes him a martyr to his co-workers, who have gone on strike and are rioting. Caesar, the local law enforcement official, is in the middle of it. Against this turbulent backdrop Aunt Ester launches Citizen on a spiritual journey aboard the legendary slave ship, Gem of the Ocean, to the mythical City of Bones. There, Citizen comes to understand the story of his ancestors and faces the truth about his crime and the man he has wronged.