Two Trains Running

Timothy Douglas’s cast brings home a strong, balanced production of August Wilson’s play set in 1969 Pittsburgh. Tony Cisek’s generously-proportioned set design, a rundown restaurant where the overhead fixtures haven’t been cleaned in a long time, gives the characters the opportunity to step forward to tell a story or to recede into the background as needed. There’s a rich texture to the lives of these people, as they go about their days, refilling salt shakers, playing solitaire dominoes to pass the time, or just eating a much-needed meal of beans and corn muffins.

Shannon Dorsey’s gimlet-eyed Risa rejects the appeals of the men around her, even as she knows she will end up tied to the charismatic Sterling (Ricardo Frederick Evans), a would-be revolutionary destined to serve petty sentences for petty crimes. Frank Britton gives comic relief Hambone a gravel voice and a ruined dignity. A great scene in a corner booth between the cranky old man Holloway (lanky Michael Anthony Williams with an expressive wingspan) and the louche numbers runner Wolf (stocky, stylin’ KenYatta Rogers in a red hat) crackles with energy.

  • Two Trains Running, by August Wilson, directed by Timothy Douglas, Round House Theatre, Bethesda, Md.