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Thomas Stern August Wilson - African-Amer Life-Music (2) August Wilson - African-Amer Life-Music 12 Jun 21


I am embarrassed to admit coming to the Plays of AUGUST
WILSON thirty odd years late. With the attention garnered by
the NETFLIX production by DENZEL WASHINGTON of Wilson's play
MA RAINEY's BLACK BOTTOM I have had the opportunity to focus
on his work.
Three of the plays have been made into TV or Movie productions
and are available on DVD:
   The Piano Lesson (Hallmark)
   Fences (Paramount)
   Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Netflix - not available commercially
    on DVD, but "screeners" can be found.)

There is also an LP & CD release of the 80's Broadway Cast
production of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

Watching beginning of The Piano Lesson, I had the feeling of
listening to the ALAN LOMAX prison farm-chain gang recordings!

I've don a little digging and find a number of interviews of
Wilson (Bill Moyers and Charlie Rose) in which the importance
of Black music in African American life is stressed, and reflected in the ten plays comprising the "Pittsburgh Cycle" - representing
African American life in each of the 10 decades of the 20th Century.

The Moyers interview is an interesting contrast to the attitudes
expressed by Zora Neale Hurston in her biography DUST TRACKS ON A
ROAD in chapter MY PEOPLE, MY PEOPLE.      

The 10 plays are
Gem of the Ocean (2003) – 1900s
Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (1988) – 1910s
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (1984) – 1920s
The Piano Lesson (1990) – 1930s
Seven Guitars (1995) – 1940s
Fences (1987) – 1950s
Two Trains Running (1991) – 1960s
Jitney (1982) – 1970s
King Hedley II (1999) – 1980s
Radio Golf (2005) – 1990s

Interviews online:

A WORLD OF IDEAS
Playwright August Wilson on Blackness and the Blues
October 20, 1988
https://billmoyers.com/content/august-wilson/

https://charlierose.com/videos/19855
Wednesday 04/08/1992
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson discusses his 1992 work "Two Trains Running," his "Pittsburgh Cycle" series of plays, and the black experience in the United States.


https://charlierose.com/videos/12057
Monday 03/25/1996
Playwright August Wilson presents his latest play, "Seven Guitars," the seventh installment in Wilson's project to chronicle the black experience, decade by decade in the 20th century.


https://charlierose.com/videos/165
Wednesday 02/25/1998
A conversation about race in the cultural arts with August Wilson.


https://charlierose.com/videos/9260
Wednesday 05/18/2005
Playwright August Wilson talks about his new play "Radio Golf" about middle class characters.


Best wishes, Thomas.


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