All time hall of fame: MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM by August Wilson at Oregon Shakespeare Festival (2005)

In October of 2005 when August Wilson passed away, a top notch production of his first play, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM, was on in Ashland.

This was one of those OSF ensembles you dream about. But when Kevin Kenerly’s Levy (currently appearing in Portland in Portland Playhouse’s production of JITNEY at the Winningstad) jabbed his knife skyward and bitterly addressed god directly, the experience moved towards the eternal.

MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM at OSF (2005). Josiah Phillips, Greta Oglesby. Photo: Jenny Graham
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM at OSF (2005). Josiah Phillips, Greta Oglesby. Photo: Jenny Graham

MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM at OSF (2005). Josiah Phillips, Abdul Salaam El Razzac, Greta Oglesby, Kevin Kenerly. Photo: Jenny Graham.
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM at OSF (2005). Josiah Phillips, Abdul Salaam El Razzac, Greta Oglesby, Kevin Kenerly. Photo: Jenny Graham.

MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM at OSF (2005). Ensemble.  Photo: Jenny Graham.
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM at OSF (2005). Ensemble. Photo: Jenny Graham.