- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Posted December 16, 2007
After I read Seven Guitars, I could not wait to read King Hedley II, the sequel to the devastating play, which revealed Hedley as the killer. The events in this drama take place thirty-seven years (1985) after the events in the previous play (1948). This lapse of time sets the period in which Hedley's son, King Hedley the Second, has grown into a man and thus provides us with his history. King has been out of prison for four years he went to prison for killing a man for scarring his face. The first thing I noticed was that King felt the same way Floyd did: blocked (one can assume that August Wilson is trying to say that even all this time later black men are still being treated the same way)--his wife, Tonya, tells him she is deciding to have an abortion (this is because her daughter from a teenage pregnancy made the same mistakes she did and had a teenage pregnancy herself which is making her unsure how good a mother she will be) which makes King feel like he has no opinion, even in the life of his own child. His mother is living with him (she wants to make up for the period in his rearing when she was not there because she was singing with a jazz band and left him to be reared by her aunt, the landlady Louise). A mentioned-but-not-seen-onstage character from the previous play named Elmore makes an appearance to start back up his on-again off-again relationship with Ruby. He has also spent five years in prison for killing Leroy, a rival in the fight for Ruby's love and King's real father. Elmore is also a hustler: he gives King's friend, Mister, a gun that does not work all that well and in the process scams Mister out of all the money that he has on him at the moment. (Mister later gives this gun to Ruby, who won't use it until the final moments of the play.) Coming back also is Canewell, now called Stool Pigeon because Ruby named him this after he told the police Hedley killed Floyd Barton. King makes a living selling black market refrigerators. He hopes to one day sell enough and make enough money to open his own video store. In the first act, Aunt Ester dies after almost four hundred years of existence, eventually taking her cat with her also. It will need blood to revive it but for the mean time it has a grave in front of King's house that is encompassed by wire, set up by Stool Pigeon and Ruby advises Tonya. In the second act, King's true parentage is revealed to him by Leroy over Ruby's protests. Him and Leroy get into a fight, which scares Ruby into committing an explosive act which will leave one person dead, providing the dead cat with the blood it needs, and one alive. Once again the simplicity but at the same time the heaviness of the language stuns and delights me. Thank you August Wilson for giving us a DAMN good--and most of all brilliant--piece of drama.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.