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August Wilson’s solo show on race, power and more

'How I Learned What I Learned'

Michael Leighton | 9/30/2016, 10:49 a.m.
August Wilson’s provocative autobiographical solo show about race, culture, oppression, hierarchy and power.
Victor Mack is the playwright and poet August Wilson in the Portland Playhouse production of ‘How I Learned What I Learned,’ Wilson’s provocative autobiographical solo show about race, culture, oppression, hierarchy and power. Owen Walz

August Wilson is a national treasure. The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright produced a series of 10 plays that serve as defining snapshots of African-American life during the 20th century.

Before that, though, Wilson identified as a poet. How he viewed the world and vice versa, was explored through his “How I Learned What I Learned,” an autobiographical one-man show that is essentially a memoir.

In this format, Wilson is talking directly to the audience about critical issues of race and culture that remain relevant today.

Portland Playhouse, the diverse theater group which turned an old church at 602 N.E. Prescott St. into a theater venue, has produced the show for a production that opened last week and continues through Oct. 23.

Co-conceived by Todd Kreidler and unveiled on the East Coast, this is the first performance of ‘How I Learned What I Learned’ with an African-American director, Kevin Jones of Portland, and star, Victor Mack, also of Portland.

“It’s a must-see for anyone who's a fan of August Wilson,” Portland Playhouse artistic director

Brian Weaver says. “He draws us in with humor and lyrical storytelling, and then calls us to action to make a more just world and be a better version of ourselves.”

Performance times are Wednesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. For tickets and more information, call the box office at 503-488-5822 or visit portlandplayhouse.org.