C. Stanley Photography/Arena Stage

On February 12, 2015, I was invited to attend King Hedley II, a play by August Wilson performed at the Arena Stage in Southwest D.C.

At the play’s start, King Hedley (Bowman Wright) has returned to the Hill District in Pittsburgh after seven years in prison. He and his friend Mister (Kenyatta Rodgers) try to deal with the everyday struggles of life.

He was trying to do the right thing. He was trying to be an entrepreneur.

The play was funny and interesting. It had me guessing; I didn’t really know how it was going to end. I understand why they were robbing the store, but it was too early in the play for King to get caught or go back to prison like I thought he would.

In the end King gets killed, which is the saddest part of the play. I thought he’d come out to be successful.

The play focuses on a realistic situation in the black community. King’s death gave the play a true life feeling.

I’ve met people who went to jail for murder and came out wanting to get a fresh start for their life. Things don’t go their way. You commit crimes because things don’t go your way. Heck, I did .

For me, the important message that could’ve come out of it is that if King would’ve stuck with it or had patience it could’ve worked out. But for me, it’s just real life. I know guys that came out of prison with way longer time than that. You try and do the right thing and it seems like everyone’s against you and nobody’s trying to work with you.

Elmore (Michael Anthony Williams).


The set for the play was not that spectacular. There were not many props, just an open stage and floor. The costumes were everyday clothes, but I have to say Elmore’s (Michael Anthony Williams) three piece suit really fit the character. He was a conman who came to the hood to hustle people out of their money.

The play was set in 1985, and it really fit for that time and era. My favorite and funniest character was Stool Pigeon (Andre Desheilds), with his quotes from the Bible. What really caught my attention was the language and the slang of the actors.

A good group of actors and actresses played the roles: Andre Desheilds, Bowman Wright, E. Faye Bulter, Kenyatta Rodgers, Jessica Dukes and Michael Williams.

King Hedley II will be showing on the Fichandler Stage through Sunday, March 8, 2015.