Archive for March 31st, 2009


by Sam Juliano

When the curtain rises on August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Seth is complaining to his wife Bertha about Bynum, a tenant in their Pittsburgh boardinghouse who kills pigeons for his African rituals.  Seth and Bertha also commiserate about Seth’s night position at the steel mill, and his third job as a tinsmith, fabricating items sold to him by the white peddler, Rutherford Selig.  Seth would actually go into the tinsmithing business himself, but cannot get approved for a loan unless he forfeits the boardinghouse, which he refuses to do.  Selig stops by for his weekly Saturday business visit, buys some pots from Seth and puts in an order for some dustpans.  Bynum asks Selig about the shiny man that he paid Selig–a people finder–to find for him.    

Thus begins the third of Wilson’s “Century Cycle” set in 1911, of ten plays, which comprises his complete artistic output, and which chronicles ten decades of life in Pittsburgh’s “Hill District” among African-Americans that is mythic in its compelling transcription of the black experience.  The title of the play basically symbolizes the American socialized system of oppression, whereby “Joe Turner” is “incarceration”, (Turner is actually a notorious Tennessee plantation owner who illegally enslaved African-Americans to work for him.) and Herald Loomis at the outset is simultaneously searching for his wife and daughter and his inner-self.      (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(UK 2003 350m) DVD2 

A missing silver briefcase

p  Hilary Bevan Jones  d  David Yates  w  Paul Abbott  ph  Chris Seager  ed  Mark Day  m  Nicholas Hooper  art  Donal Woods

David Morrissey (Stephen Collins), John Simm (Cal McCaffrey), Kelly MacDonald (Della Smith), Bill Nighy (Cameron Foster), Polly Walker (Anne Collins), Amelia Bullmore (Helen Preger), James McAvoy (Dan Foster), Philip Glenister (DCI William Bell), Marc Warren (Dominic Foy), Michael Feast (Andrew Wilson), Benedict Wong (Pete Cheng), Geraldine James (Yvonne Shaps), Sean Gilder (Sgt. “Chewy” Cheweski), Tom Burke (Syd), Shauna McDonald (Sonia Baker), David Ryall,

Just watching State of Play again reminds one of just how incestuous British television drama is.  Never mind the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, they should rename that game the Two Degrees of John Simm.  Just one look through the cast – Simm, Morrissey, Nighy, McDonald, Glenister, Warren, it’s like a who’s who of contemporary drama.  Only Jodhi May, David Tennant, Sarah Parish and David Bradley are missing, but all of the above are very much part of the merry-go-round.  Take Morrissey, who following this had arguably his best role as Ripley Holden in Blackpool, opposite David Tennant, whose adversary as Doctor Who, The Master, was reincarnated as John Simm, who appeared with David Morrissey…  Arthur Schnitzler would give off a wry smile.

            State of Play follows the ramification of the seemingly unconnected deaths of a 15 year old black youth and a twenty-something parliamentary research assistant on the same London morning.  It transpires that up and coming cabinet tipped MP Stephen Collins was having an affair with the deceased woman, and at this time he renews acquaintance with Cal McCaffrey, an old friend and campaign manager now working as a journalist for famous editor Cameron Foster.  The problem is that a phone call took place twixt the two seemingly unconnected victims on the fateful morning in question, and it becomes a race to see whether the police or Fleet Street get to the truth first. (more…)

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