This production closes December 21, and re-opens in the new year, playing January 9-February 22. Chronologically the first work in August Wilson's decade-by-decade cycle dramatizing the African American experience during the 20th century. Slavery is still a living memory in Gem of the Ocean, which is set in 1904 in Pittsburgh's Hill district. Newly arrived from Alabama, Citizen Barlow appears at the home of legendary healer and 'soul-cleanser" Aunt Ester on the eve of her 287th birthday. He is seeking solace and guidance, and Ester sends him on a magical journey across history and time that leads to startling discoveries.