Most people probably equate the name Aunt Ester with the outspoken Sanford & Son
character played by the late, great LaWanda Page
, queen of the filthy party record
. But the name means something else entirely to August Wilson
fans. Although Aunt Ester only appears as a character in Gem of the Ocean
, this "washer of souls" is the most frequently mentioned character in Wilson's century-spanning Pittsburgh cycle. Now August's storied aunt—a mostly invisible character— is being given her long overdue moment in the spotlight.
The August Wilson Center for African American Culture, which opened last month in Pittsburgh, has announced its first theatrical event in the newly completed center: The Aunt Ester Cycle. The show, which runs from November 10 - 22, 2009 "explores the dramatic impact of this legendary character" through productions of Gem of the Ocean, Two Trains Running, Radio Golf and The Women of the Hill, a new work by choreographer and performance artist Ping Chong.