Speak: The Words of August Wilson

PictureAugust Wilson

A GLIMPSE OF WILSON — from the words of August Wilson

“From Borges, those wonderful gaucho stories from which I learned that you can be specific as to a time and place and culture and still have the work resonate with the universal themes of love, honor, duty, betrayal, etc. From Amiri Baraka, I learned that all art is political, although I don’t write political plays. From Romare Bearden I learned that the fullness and richness of everyday life can be rendered without compromise or sentimentality.”

” In creating plays 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.”

“I once wrote this short story called ‘The Best Blues Singer in the World,’ and it went like this— “The streets that Balboa walked were his own private ocean, and Balboa was drowning.” End of story. That says it all. Nothing else to say. I’ve been rewriting that same story over and over again. All my plays are rewriting that same story.

Wilson’s ten-play  ”Pittsburgh Cycle,” or “Century Cycle,” set in Pittsburgh’s hill district shine a light on the 20th century black experience and aim to “raise consciousness through theater”revealing  ”the poetry in the everyday language of black America”

“I think my plays offer (white Americans) a different way to look at black Americans,” he told The Paris Review. “For instance, in ‘Fences’ they see a garbageman, a person they don’t really look at, although they see a garbageman every day. By looking at Troy’s life, white people find out that the content of this black garbageman’s life is affected by the same things – love, honor, beauty, betrayal, duty. Recognizing that these things are as much part of his life as theirs can affect how they think about and deal with black people in their lives.”

Only one more chance to hear A Glimpse of Wilson is sponsored by The Boys and Girls Club of Chester, the Artist’s Warehouse, and Hedgerow Theatre, and performed by Brian Anthony Wilson, Devon Walls & Many Others on March 16 at The Artist’s Warehouse (504 Edgemont Ave, Chester, PA 19013). Donations are welcome for this free performance. Call (610) 565- 4211 for more information.


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Brian Anthony Wilson (far right) performs in JOHN BROWN’S BODY with Connie Norwood (center) and John Harvey (far left) with the Hedgerow Theatre Company. Photo: Rick Prieur. 2012.