Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Man's Life Work

The plays of August Wilson

The 10 plays written by August Wilson chronicling the black experience in America in the 20th century, and the decade in which each was set. All played on Broadway except “Jitney,” which was presented off-Broadway, and “Radio Golf,” which has had two regional theater productions.

“Gem of the Ocean” A haunting, ghostlike play, conjuring tales of slave ships and the black man arriving in chains in the New World.
“Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” Set in a Pittsburgh boarding house, the children and grandchildren of slavery grapple with a world that won’t let them forget the past.
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” A volatile trumpet player rebels against racism in a Chicago recording studio.
“The Piano Lesson” A brother and sister battle over a family heirloom, a link to the slavery in their past.
“Seven Guitars” The final days of a Pittsburgh blues guitarist, telling the story of how and why he died.
“Fences” A father-son drama of dreams denied and how that denial affects the relationship between the two men.
“Two Trains Running” The displaced and the dreamers congregate in a dilapidated Pittsburgh restaurant scheduled for demolition.
“Jitney” Another father-son tale, set in a gypsy cab station, as the owner of the cab company squares off against his offspring, newly released from prison.
“King Hedley II” An ex-con attempts to get his life back on track despite the desperation, despair and violence that surrounds him.
“Radio Golf” A successful middle-class entrepreneur tries to reconcile the present with the past.