The not-so-subliminal message in this week’s review of Gem of the Ocean is: “Support bold theater!” Jubilee Theatre is staging the Southwest premiere of the late August Wilson’s intimate and mystical play through June 27. There’s no telling when Fort Worth audiences will get a chance to see it again
The show’s historical period (early 20th century), poetic dialogue and supernatural situations may indeed be challenging for some audiences, but they’re not insurmountable. Director Akin Babatunde invests the production with lots of brash humor, and the actors are thoroughly in touch with the play’s transitional era. Here’s a scene where Citizen Barlow (Akron Watson) tells Aunt Ester (Cheryl Tyre) how post-slavery indentured servitude works circa 1904 Pittsburgh.