W hat are the great American plays of the late 20th and early 21st centuries? Death of a Salesman is routinely cited, yet it takes for granted that a white man is an everyperson. So is the work of the male dramatist August Wilson.
It may look and sound easy, but that in no way takes away from the talent on display. Step one is choosing the show. As usual, his passion translates thrillingly onstage.
Playwright August Wilson died on Sunday of liver cancer. One of his most famous works is Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, a play about a recording session with s blues singer Ma Rainey. August Wilson died Sunday in a hospital in Seattle.
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Photo by Michael Brosilow. August Wilson famously tackled the entirety of the 20th century with his poetic works of human tragedy and mythic resilience. It is a beautifully written and deeply moving portrayal of music, ambition, and suffering in the s.
It was the first of a series of plays in which Wilson portrayed African American life in the 20th century. The play, set in a recording studio in Chicago infeatures Ma Raineya popular blues singer, and the members of her band. Ma Rainey comments on the violence perpetrated by blacks against other blacks in their frustration over being excluded from white society.
Don't have an account yet? Get the most out of your experience with a personalized all-access pass to everything local on events, music, restaurants, news and more. Much like the Hollywood studios during the Golden Age, Houston theaters have their own particular style, a uniqueness all their own.
In the early s, African-American playwright August Wilson began writing what would become known as his Pittsburgh Cycle, a series of ten plays —each set in a different decade of the 20th Century — telling stories about the Black experience in America. In the wonderfully intimate atmosphere of the Michael Young Theatre, before the show even begins, time and place are instantly felt. But Ma Rainey is late, so they decide to head downstairs to the rehearsal area. Between brief moments of rehearsal, the musicians break into chatter that starts out as trivial but develops into acidic humour and heated discussion.
Buy Tickets Subscribe Donate. Cutler and the band appear shortly, and Levee shows up carrying his new shoes, which he paid for in part with money he won from Cutler the night before playing craps, a dice game. The bulk of act I is comprised of bantering between and among band players, with Levee arguing with almost everyone.
August Wilson believed strongly in leverage — the idea that, in a capitalist economy, we have to be cognizant of our value in the marketplace, understanding that our clout can and will go down the moment the buyer gets what he wants elsewhere and no longer has any need to be nice. Then, we find ourselves out with the trash. But when they were in the recording booth, it behooved these producers to play nice, given the necessity of getting the licks down on disc.