Cincinnati Playhouse Stages TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Beginning March 2, history unfolds around everyday lives in August Wilson's TWO TRAINS RUNNING at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Part of Wilson's American Century Cycle, the masterpiece play portrays ordinary people swept up in a rapidly changing world against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. TWO TRAINS RUNNING is presented in the Marx Theatre by Moe and Jack Rouse and Randolph Wadsworth through March 30. Opening night is Thursday, March 7.
Wilson is widely regarded as the world's foremost African-American playwright and as one of the most important and influential voices in the history of theatre. He won both a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for his 1987 play, Fences. He won his second Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for The Piano Lesson. Wilson's American Century Cycle is a trailblazing 10-play series about the African-American experience. From 1979 to 2004, he wrote one play for each decade of the 20th century.
Variety stated that TWO TRAINS RUNNING was "perfection... a work by a writer at the peak of his powers."
Set in Pittsburgh's Hill District in a local diner in 1969, long-time regulars gather to gossip, flirt and play by the numbers. The owner must decide whether or let the city take over his building or sell it to a shrewd, local businessman.
Playhouse Associate Artist Timothy Douglas, who directs the production, is one of the country's preeminent directors of Wilson's plays. Douglas has directed several productions of Wilson's work, including the Playhouse's 2016 production of Jitney.
"When August Wilson's plays first came on to the scene, one of the major impacts was in filling the void that was the lack of authentic black lives and voices on mainstream American stages," explains Douglas. "August Wilson's works are unapologetically pro-black, which is the polar opposite of being anti-white, and it is because of this reality - by way of his plays, characters and dynamic use of language - he is able to convey universal truths."
The play explores topics such as inequality and injustice, balanced with moments of humor and optimism. Though it marks the seventh play of Wilson's American Century Cycle, TWO TRAINS RUNNING stands on its own, painting a compassionate portrait of ordinary people in the midst of transformation.