Sunday, February 8, 2015

August Wilson - "My plays are ultimately about love, honor, duty, betrayal" and "the foundation of my playwriting is poetry"

As I grabbed a drink at the cafe bar before a performance of Signature's 2012 revival of The Piano Lesson, I chit chatted with a woman who proudly noted that she had seen August Wilson's [1945 - 2005] ten play cycle about African American life in the 20th century. Moreover, she was from Pittsburgh and was very familiar with the Hill District where all but one of the plays is set. She was definitely a fan of the famed playwright.

It is now a wintry Sunday morning in February 2015. I am placing a reminder on my calendar to watch the upcoming American Masters' August Wilson episode. I am reading a synopsis of the 10 plays. And I am remembering the Pittsburgh woman and my unmet promise to complete the cycle and read the plays I had not yet seen...    

American Masters — August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand airs February 20. It commemorates the 70th anniversary of Wilson’s birth, the 10th anniversary of his death and Black History Month.

The Cycle

1) Jitney (1979) - Set in the 1970s - Only play not mounted on Broadway

2) Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (1982) - Set in Chicago in the 1920s

3) Fences (1984) - Pulitzer Prize  & Tony Award - Set in the 1950s

4) Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (1984) - Set in 1910s

5) The Piano Lesson (1986) - Pulitzer Prize - Set in 1930s

6) Two Trains Running (1990) - Set in 1960s

7) Seven Guitars (1985) - Set in 1940s

8) King Hedley II (1991) - Set in 1980s

9) Gem of the Ocean (2003) - Set in 1900s

10) Radio Golf (2005) - Set in the 1990s

August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand
11 Things You Should Know About August Wilson

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