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Friday, April 26, 2019

Stirring Together Life's Elements

“A novelist writes a novel, and people read it. But reading is a solitary act. While it may elicit a varied and personal response, the communal nature of the audience is like having five hundred people read your novel and respond to it at the same time. I find that thrilling.” – August Wilson

Born on April 27, 1945, Wilson was an African-American playwright whose work was highlighted by a series of 10 plays called The Pittsburgh or Century Cycle.  Among them were Fences, which won both a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony – and was made into an Academy Award winning movie; and The Piano Lesson, which also won a Pulitzer for Drama and the New York Drama Critics Award.  Each play is set in a different decade of the 20th Century, depicting the comic and tragic aspects of the Black experience.
Wilson said his aim was to "raise consciousness through theater.”  He was fascinated by the power of theater as a medium where a community at large could come together to bear witness to events and the unfolding currents of society.  Wilson had the remarkable ability to make everything he said and wrote crackle with enthusiasm and life, and any aspiring writer or actor who listened to his talks would always walk out fired up about writing or acting and ready to get busy trying to emulate what he shared. 

                            “In creating plays," he said,  "I often use the image of a stewing pot in which I toss various things that I’m going to make use of—a black cat, a garden, a bicycle, a man with a scar on his face, a pregnant woman, a man with a gun."   The results were as tasty as tasty can be.

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