“Radio Golf” at Shades Rep, Haverstraw Tells Story of Racial Issues in Pittsburgh, 1997

BY GEORGE J. DACRE

This is another in the Haverstraw-based Shades Repertory Theatre’s look at African-American History month and it is quite a tale of how black people in the Pennsylvania city strived to improve their lot.

One man runs as the first black candidate for mayor, while his golf-loving friend works his way up the economic ladder by making deals with white folks, including getting part ownership of a Pittsburgh radio station.

Harmond Wilks, played by Philip Gist, and Roosevelt Hicks, played by Steve Allen had a problem over a matter of demolition of a home in a tract of land they wanted to develop for shopping centers and condominiums. Seems that Elder Joseph Barlow, portrayed by Keith Bullock, claimed he owned the house which was slated for demolition.

Wilks, running for mayor, wanted to do the right thing, but Hicks, who even had his own golf radio program, just wanted the development to go forward. Enter Sterling Johnson (played by Sheldon Roberts), a wandering construction worker who wanted a job, but becomes an advocate for Barlow.

All of this is portrayed by author August Wilson as the story of Pittsburgh in 1997, when it was difficult for a black man to get ahead.

Directed by Joe Lima, “Radio Golf” is an intriguing work of theatre and the cast was really adept at acting it out. It was not only blacks against whites but blacks against blacks with politics, greed and righteousness all playing a part in the drama.

It is revealing theatre and well acted out. I rate it Three Stars Out Of Four!!! “Radio Golf” plays through March 1.

Tickets at shadesrep.org.