From the late August Wilson, one of America’s greatest playwrights and creator of award-winning titles like Fences and Jitney, comes this autobiographical tour de force. In his one-man show, Wilson takes us on a journey through his days as a young poet: his first few jobs, a stint in jail, the support of his lifelong friends, and his encounters with racism, music, and love as a struggling writer in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Originally performed by Wilson himself, How I Learned What I Learned is a heartfelt theatrical memoir—charting one man’s journey of self-discovery through adversity, and what it means to be a black artist in America.

In partnership with Lorraine Hansberry Theatre and Ubuntu Theater Project

MTC is offering free admission for furloughed employees and contractors during the partial government shutdown. Federal employees are asked to provide their CAC or federal identification card when purchasing tickets at the MTC Box Office window or when picking up tickets at Will Call that have been purchased over the phone. No code required. In-person / phone sales only. 

Generous support for August Wilson's How I Learned What I Learned provided by The Shubert Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Koret Foundation and Kenneth Rainin Foundation.

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Performance Schedule

Press Opening Night 

Tuesday, January 15, 7:30pm. 
Opening nights are not available for sale online. Seating is extremely limited.  
 

Questions? Please contact the Box Office directly: 
(415) 388-5208 | boxoffice@marintheatre.org 

Evenings

Tue - Sat 7:30pm  
Sunday Jan 20, 7:30pm

Matinees 

Sunday (Preview) Jan 13, 4pm    
Thursday (Perspectives) Jan 24, 1pm    
Saturdays, Jan 12, 19 & 26, Feb 2, 2pm    
Sundays Jan 20, 27, Feb 3, 2pm 


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Ticket Prices

Performance Center
seating
Side
seating
Previews (Jan 10 – 13) $39 $39
Sat Eve & Weekend Matinees $60 $55
Tue*, Wed, Thu, Fri & Sun Eve $52 $47
Perspectives Matinee $52 $47
Best Deal (see info below) $25 $25

Prices subject to change. 

Phone orders subject to a $10 per order fee; online orders subject to a $3 per order fee

Wheelchair accessible seating is currently only available through the MTC Box Office (415.388.5208 or in person). We apologize for any inconvenience.

Discounts

  • BEST DEAL: $25 tickets in select seats available for all performances beginning one week before opening night. Available online. Questions? Call the box office at 415-388-5208
  • GROUPS: Bring eight or more people to receive a $7 discount on tickets. The group discount is automatically applied online. Questions? Call the box office at 415-388-5208.
  • SENIORS (65+): $4 off single tickets to all performances, available online.
  • UNDER 30: $22, all performances, available online.
  • TEENS: $10, all performances, available online.
  • MILITARY: $6 off all performances. Thank you for your service! Please call the box office to reserve at (415) 388-5208.
  • EDUCATOR: $12, all performances (limit 2). Must teach at a Marin County School. Call the box office to reserve at (415) 388-5208.

Promo Codes distributed for online redemption subject to availability.  
Only ONE (1) Promo Code will be valid per order.  
Promo Codes do not apply to Best Deal ($25) tickets.
Promo Codes do not apply to already discounted tickets (including Senior, Under 30, Teen, and Best Deal).


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Select a Performance

To begin your ticket purchase, select a performance from the calendar below:

January 2019
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MTC Engaged Special Events

WINDOW ON THE WORK

WINDOW ON THE WORK

Thurs., Jan. 3 | 7:00 PM

Window on the Works series focuses on our production; design, casting and rehearsal process. Mill Valley Public Library, 375 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley.

AFTER WORDS

AFTER WORDS

Post-Show

Post-show question and answer sessions, led by a member of our artistic staff, immediately following most performances (except on Opening and Closing Nights and Saturdays).

Wednesday Pre-Show Talk

Wednesday Pre-Show Talk

Every Wednesday | 7:10 PM

Join us in the theatre—with a beverage!—for a pre-show talk with a member of our artistic staff prior to every Wednesday evening performance.

Perspectives Matinee

Perspectives Matinee

Thurs., Jan. 24 | 12:00 PM

Topical lecture one hour prior to the 1:00 PM open-captioned performance.

Cast

  • Steven Anthony Jones*

    Steven Anthony Jones*

    August Wilson

    Steven Anthony Jones was the artistic director of the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, the premiere African American theatre company in the San Francisco Bay Area. He directed Philip Kan Gotanda's After the War Blues for the UC Berkeley Dept. of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies. He has worked professionally on stage, television and in film for 42 years. He has performed in the works of August Wilson, (Charles) Fuller, Fugard, Stoppard, Gotonda, Becket, Pinter, Moliere, Shakespeare, Chekhov and others. He was in the original cast of A Soldier’s Play produced by the Negro Ensemble Company, which won an Obie Award for ensemble acting and the Pulitzer Prize for best drama. He performed, taught and directed at the American Conservatory Theater for 22 years as a member of the core acting company. His many film and television credits include two seasons of Midnight Caller and a recurring role on the NBC series Trauma. Mr. Jones received his early theatre training at Karamu House in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Other experience includes the Cleveland Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, San Jose Rep, and San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.

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Creative Team

  • August Wilson

    August Wilson

    Playwright

    August Wilson authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (New York Drama Critics Circle Award), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (NYDCC Award), The Piano Lesson (Pulitzer Prize and NYDCC Award), Seven Guitars (NYDCC Award), Fences (Pulitzer Prize, Tony and NYDCC Awards), Two Trains Running (NYDCC Award), Jitney (Olivier and NYDCC Awards), King Hedley II and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of African Americans, decade by decade, over the course of the 20th century. His plays have been produced at regional theaters across the country and all over the world, as well as on Broadway. In 2003, Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. He received an Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. His early works included the one-act plays The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecoming and the musical satire Black Bart and the Sacred Hills. Wilson received many fellowships and awards, including Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships in Playwriting, the Whiting Writers Award, Heinz Award and the National Humanities Medal. Following his death in October 2005, the Broadway theater located at 245 West 52nd Street was renamed the August Wilson Theatre.

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  • Margo Hall

    Margo Hall

    Director

    Margo Hall (director) is an award winning actor/director/playwright. She has performed and directed in theatres throughout the Bay Area, and was last seen at MTC on stage in Skeleton Crew. She recently directed Barbecue for SF Playhouse (which she also starred in) which won the San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Best Direction, and Best Production for 2018. Other directing credits include Red Velvet and The Story for SF Playhouse, Brownsville Song, b-side for tray for Shotgun Players, where she also co-directed Bulrusher with Ellen Sebastian Chang. She is a founding member of Campo Santo, and has directed, performed and collaborated on several new plays with artists such as Naomi Iizuka, Jessica Hagedorn, Philip Kan Gotanda, and Octavio Solis. She debuted as a director with the World Premiere of Joyride,from the novel Grand Avenue by Greg Sarris, for Campo Santo. The production won the Critics Circle Award and SF Weekly Black Box Award for Best Director. She also co-directed Mission Indians with Nancy Benjamin, The Trail of Her Inner Thigh with Rhodessa Jones, Hotel Angulo, and Simpatico for Campo Santo. Other directing credits include Thurgood for Lorraine Hansberry Theater starring Steven Jones, , and Friend of my Youth and Sonny’s Blues for Word for Word. She is also a professor at Chabot College where she directed Fabulation, Hamlet Blood in the Brain, The Trojan Women, It Falls, SPUNK, Ragtime, and A Streetcar Named Desire and Polaroid Stories at UC Berkeley.

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  • Edward E. Haynes Jr.+

    Edward E. Haynes Jr.+

    Scenic Designer

    Ed is happy to be returning to MTC following his Design last season for Skeleton Crew.  Regional Credits: The Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Rep., The Kirk Douglas Theatre, Ebony Rep., The Geffen Playhouse, The Pasadena Playhouse,  Berkeley Rep., The Hollywood Bowl, TheatreWorks, The Intiman Theatre, Trinity Rep., The Alley Theatre, The Alliance Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and many he can no longer remember. Television Credits include MTVs Spring Break 2012 & 2011, Hip Hop Harry for the Discovery Kids/TLC Channel, and Culture Clash for Fox TV. Ed is the proud father of twins, Denis and Wesly, and husband to Director, Elizabeth Bell-Haynes. =

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  • Stephanie Anne Johnson

    Stephanie Anne Johnson

    Lighting Designer

    Stephanie Anne Johnson is a second-generation theater practitioner. Her mother Virginia Greene worked with the American Negro Theater in the 1950s. Johnson has been a lighting designer for over forty years. Johnson has been a lighting designer for over forty years. Nationally she has done designs for La Mama Theatre (N.Y.), Black Moon Theatre (N.Y. & Paris), Telluride Theatre (Colorado), The Arizona Repertory Theatre, The National Black Theater, and The Apollo (N.Y.).  Internationally, she has worked in India, Holland, Belgium, Paris, Italy, and Canada. Locally, she has worked with Cultural Odyssey, Afro Solo, Ubuntu Theatre, TheatreFirst, African American Shakespeare Company, and many other groups. This is her fourth August Wilson production. She designed the lighting for Fences at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seven Guitars and The Piano Lesson at Oakland Ensemble Theatre. Benny Sato Ambush directed all of these productions. She is very happy to be working with Margo Hall again, and with the Marin Theater Company for the first time. Johnson is also a visual artist who has had two one-person shows in San Francisco. She has also written and performed a one-person show entitled Every Twenty One Days: Cancer, Yoga, and Me. Dr. Johnson is a founding professor in the Visual and Public Art Department at Cal State University, Monterey Bay. Her work can be seen online at www.lightessencedesign.com.

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  • ​Katherine Nowacki

    ​Katherine Nowacki

    Costume Designer

    Katherine Nowacki (costume designer) is a Bay Area based costume designer and stylist. Previously at MTC she designed costumes for The Wolves, Shakespeare in Love, and Gem of the Ocean. Recent work includes Pandora's Gift at Z Space with musical group VOLTI, Xtigone at African-American Shakespeare Company, A Raisin in the Sun and A Winter's Tale at California Shakespeare Theater, and Death of a Salesman at Theatreworks Colorado Springs. Her designs have been seen throughout California, Colorado, Oregon, and Texas. She holds an MFA from Southern Methodist University, a BFA from Southern Oregon University, and studied dance/ performance art/ and multi-media design as part of a graduate workshop at the renowned artist residence and laboratory Les Subsistances in Lyon, FR. A long admirer of August Wilson's work she is thrilled to be returning to Marin Theatre Company to be a part of How I Learned What I Learned.

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  • Everett Elton Bradman

    Everett Elton Bradman

    Sound Designer

    Everett Elton Bradman’s 2018 composer/sound designer credits include African-American Shakespeare Company’s productions of Richard III and A Streetcar Named Desire, Faultline Theater Company’s Where the Boys Are, and Skeleton Crew at Geffen Playhouse. Other adventures include Skeleton Crew at Studio Theater in Washington D.C.; music direction for As You Like It at the California Shakespeare Theater; music for Winter’s Tale, also at Cal Shakes; music/sound design for Thurgood, at the Lorraine Hansberry Theater; and assistant sound-designing The House That Will Not Stand at Berkeley Rep and Detroit ’67 at Aurora Theatre. Elton’s resumé also includes music for Lincoln-Mercury, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the New Pickle Circus, as well as bass work on Madi Das’s Grammy-nominated 2015 album Bhakti Without Borders and performances with Oakland’s very own MoonCandy, featuring Valerie Troutt.

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  • Kevin Allen Schwenkler

    Kevin Allen Schwenkler

    Special Guest Artist

    Kevin Allen Schwenkler is a San Diego-based performer, composer, and scholar. Voice and laptop are his primary instruments. Kevin is concerned with the aesthetics of social and ecological collapse. He explores these and related emergent collectivities in the field of desire through collaboration, improvisation, and scholarship. Kevin holds a B.A. in Math, Physics, and Music from Hampshire College and an M.A. in Music Composition from Mills College. He is a current Ph.D. student at UC San Diego in the Integrative Studies program. 

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  • Liz Matos*

    Liz Matos*

    Stage Manager

    Liz Matos is delighted to be a part of How I Learned What I Learned, her second production with Marin Theatre Company. Locally, Liz has also worked with Marin Shakespeare Company, Magic Theatre, The Cutting Ball Theater, A.C.T. Conservatory, and PlayGround. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association.

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  • Laura A. Brueckner

    Laura A. Brueckner

    Production Dramaturg

    Laura Brueckner has been supporting productions and playwrights with her dramaturgical work for over 20 years, with an emphasis on digital dramaturgy, world premieres, and commissions. During this time, she has been proud to count among her collaborators stellar artists such as MTC Playwright in Residence Lauren Gunderson, Christopher Chen, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Mina Morita, Marissa Wolf, Idris Goodwin, Lachlan Philpott, and Dominique Serrand, as well as groundbreaking companies Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Crowded Fire Theater, The New Harmony Project, Playwrights Foundation, and, now, Marin Theatre Company. As an artist, she is committed to theatre as a path of social action, critical inquiry, discovery, and delight. Her journalistic writing on artistic process and audience engagement has been published by HowlRound and Theatre Bay Area; her dramaturgical writing has been published by Berkeley Rep, California Shakespeare Theater, and Crowded Fire. A current member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, she holds a B.A. in English dramatic literature (magna cum laude) from U.C. Berkeley and a Ph.D. in dramaturgy from U.C. San Diego.

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  • Dori Jacob

    Dori Jacob

    Casting Director

    Dori Jacob joined Marin Theatre Company as the casting director in May 2015. For the previous four seasons, she served as the director of new play development for Magic Theatre in San Francisco, and dramaturged its world premieres of Octavio Solis’ Se Llama Cristina, Linda McLean’s Every Five Minutes, Christina Anderson’s PEN/MAN/SHIP, and John Kolvenbach’s Sister Play. As resident producer for Magic Theatre’s developmental programming, Ms. Jacob’s credits include 2011-2015 Virgin Play Series, the 2012 Asian Explosion Reading Series, and the 2013 Costume Shop Festival. Further Bay Area dramaturgy/producing/casting credits include: Assassins at Shotgun Players, Marilee Talkington’s The Creative Process at SOMArts, Laura Schellhardt’s The Comparables, and Elizabeth Hersh’s Shelter in Place at Playwrights Foundation. Ms. Jacob previously served on the executive board and literary committee for the National New Play Network, is a current member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and is a graduate of U.C. Santa Cruz and N.Y.U.’s Tisch School of the Arts.

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  • Trevor Scott Floyd

    Trevor Scott Floyd

    Artistic Producer

    Trevor (he/him/his) started as an Artistic Direction intern with MTC in 2015 and, prior to his current role as Artistic Producer, spent two seasons as Director of Ticketing, Artistic Associate, and Company Manager. As Artistic Producer, Trevor serves as MTC's local Casting Director. Originally from the beaches of South Carolina, he graduated with a dual major in Theatre and Political Science from Clemson University before trading in the Palmetto trees for the Redwoods. In addition to his role at MTC he is a freelance director and writer. You can read his latest work on the New Play Exchange.

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* Denotes member of Actors Equity Association
+ Member, United Scenic Artists
^ Member, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers

Reviews

  • An intimate evening with the late August Wilson at MTC

    It’s not at all rare to see one of August Wilson’s plays produced in the Bay Area. The late playwright’s 10-play American Century Cycle — each set in a different decade of the 20th century, almost all in the same African American neighborhood in Pittsburgh — have quickly become beloved classics of American drama. It is rare, however, to see a Wilson play produced that’s not part of that cycle.

    “How I Learned What I Learned,” making its Bay Area premiere at Marin Theatre Company, is an autobiographical one-man show originally performed by Wilson himself in 2003. A coproduction with San Francisco’s Lorraine Hansberry Theatre and the East Bay’s Ubuntu Theater Project, the show will move to SF’s Buriel Clay Theater in February and Oakland in March.

    This coproduction stars Steven Anthony Jones, a longtime American Conservatory Theater company member who then served for several years as the Lorraine Hansberry’s artistic director. It’s directed by Margo Hall, who has performed in all of the previous Wilson plays produced at MTC: “Seven Guitars,” “Gem of the Ocean” and alongside Jones in “Fences.” Hall has also previously directed Jones in LHT’s production of the solo show “Thurgood.”

    August Wilson (Steven Anthony Jones) stars in the Bay Area premiere of “How I Learned What I Learned” at the Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley.“How I Learned What I Learned” is a delightful account of Wilson’s early years as a young man growing up in Pittsburgh’s Hill District in a string of anecdotes, arranged more as a string of association than chronologically. Often there’s an obvious moral or lesson learned, sometimes there isn’t, but they’re always wonderfully entertaining and enthrallingly told, and often tremendously funny. The show lasts about an hour and 50 minutes without intermission, and doesn’t feel long in the slightest.

    Jones occasionally got stuck on his lines on opening night, breaking up the pacing a little bit, but he proves a compelling raconteur as Wilson, with a forceful personality and wry humor. There’s something marvelously inviting about the way he relates the story that makes it feel personal and intimate even on the large stage. (And the performance spaces will get smaller as the show moves from city to city.)

    The terrific set by Edward E. Haynes Jr. consists of many sheets of paper of various sizes, hung on lines as if they were laundry or developing photos. There’s a simple desk with a mammoth dictionary atop it, and at the sides of the stage are two small stretches of low, torn-up chain-link fence with a few tufts of tall grass. Chapter (or topic) titles are projected onto the hanging papers (projection design by Mike Post), accompanied by the clicking of a typewriter in Everett Elton Bradman’s sound design.

    Almost none of the stories Wilson tells in the show are about writing. I don’t think he even mentions plays aside from a Christmas pageant he performed in as a kid. But alongside such valuable life lessons as not telling anybody where to find somebody else unless you know why they’re looking for them, there are certainly explicit moments of inspiration and aspiration where he talks generally about what he set out to accomplish as an artist. A line about intending to continue to write into his 90s is particularly bittersweet because Wilson died of liver cancer at 60, just two years after premiering this piece.

    If there’s one ongoing theme aside from the one made explicit in the title, it’s Wilson’s uncompromising self-respect, which leads him to quit several jobs almost as soon as he starts them when he’s treated as suspect simply for being a young black man. This recurring refrain of never settling for less than you deserve, that “something is not always better than nothing,” might be one of the most valuable lessons one could learn from “How I Learned What I Learned.”

    — MARIN IJ Read full review
  • August Wilson from epic to portrait in Marin Theatre’s ‘How I Learned What I Learned’

    In the hands of other playwrights and actors, “How I Learned What I Learned” might sound like a lot of “… and another thing.”

    August Wilson’s autobiographical one-man show doesn’t build toward a single climax. As the narrator recounts his formative experiences in Pittsburgh’s Hill District — the site of many of the works in Wilson’s extraordinary 10-play Century Cycle — there isn’t one grand revelation or a rising and falling narrative line. Scenes weave in and out of gunpoint (the double barrels of a hunting rifle are “hubcaps” when they’re pointed at you), in and out of his mother’s house as first attempts at adulthood founder, meandering toward ownership of his identity as a writer and artist who’s just as aware of his flaws as he is of the principles he will never bend.

    In Seattle in 2003, the Pultizer Prize- and Tony-winning playwright performed the show himself, just two years years before he died. Now, veteran local actor Steven Anthony Jones embodies the writer for the show’s Bay Area premiere, which opened Tuesday, Jan. 15, at Marin Theatre Company, before it moves to San Francisco’s Buriel Clay Theater under the auspices of Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, winding up at Berkeley’s Waterfront Playhouse and Conservatory courtesy of Ubuntu Theater Project in March.

    The script hopscotches from adamant righteousness to bemused comedy to youthful earnestness — from all the jobs Wilson walked out on, instantly and sans qualm, because of a racist boss; to Wilson’s friend who papers the neighborhood in advertisements for a concert when he can’t even play an instrument; to the seventh-grade crush that led to a botched cymbal crash during the school Christmas pageant.

    But in Wilson’s singular voice, as summoned by Jones under the direction of Margo Hall, “How I Learned What I Learned” never feels like a disconnected series of anecdotes. Jones makes each change in subject and shift and tone as natural and inevitable as a law of physics.

    On opening night, though, he was still shaky with the text, calling for a line once and seeming to search for them often, especially at the beginning of the show. In a few instances, he hadn’t yet wrestled sense out of Wilson’s loop-the-loop syntax and virtuoso vocabulary: “Years later, I would have to travel through the province of unsettled schoolboys searching for the fleshy comforts of conquest, the wild, exclamatory music of sorority girls in full surrender and secret knowing of riotous muscle.”

    But more often, you bask in Jones’ masterful elocution and intonation — the way he relaxes into a vowel; crisps a consonant; divines, for each syllable, a one-of-a-kind way to make it important by singing it, stretching it, clipping it, landing on it with a mighty thud. Jones has an inborn kingliness of manner that he dispenses benevolently to Wilson’s subject matter and his audience alike. “Here,” he seems to say, “there’s room on my regal coattails for all of you to ride on.”

    And who but nobility could proffer such wisdom as Wilson? To have your mother die is to learn “that allthem years you been living on your mother’s prayers and now you’ve got to live on your own.” “If you go through life carrying a 10-gallon bucket, you always going to be disappointed. ’Cause it ain’t never going to be filled.”

    The great project of Wilson’s Century Cycle was to write black life, history and culture into what had too often been a monochromatic American dramatic canon. In “How I Learned What I Learned,” Wilson paints a portrait that’s just as wide and deep, but of a single man — one who demands, and earns — respect with each utterance, who can build a world with a turn of phrase, who can bring the same eloquent, compassionate honesty he brought to Pittsburgh’s Hill District to himself.

    — S. F. CHRONICLE Read full review

Learn More

Select a Performance

To begin your ticket purchase, select a performance from the calendar below:

January 2019
Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
14
15
21
28