August Wilson's 20th Century: Jitney
At a ramshackle taxi depot, the men who drive gypsy cabs, or "jitneys," strive to find honor and accomplishment in a harsh world. When the station owner's estranged son returns from prison, their reunion unleashes two decades of brutal, raw emotion.
- Mar. 22 - Apr. 5, 2008
- Terrace Theater
- Approx 2 hrs, 40 min
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--The New York Times
Directed by Gordon Davidson
At a ramshackle taxi depot, the middle-aged men who drive unlicensed gypsy cabs, or "jitneys," strive to find honor and accomplishment amidst a landscape of diminishing opportunity. When the station owner's estranged son returns from 20 years in prison, their reunion unleashes two decades of brutal, raw emotion.
--Running Time: 2 hours, 9 minutes, with one intermission--
Youngblood: Anthony Mackie
Turnbo: John Beasley
Fielding: Anthony Chisolm
Doub: Eugene Lee
Shealy: Afemo Omilami
Philmore: Montae Russell
Becker: Paul Butler
Rena: Roslyn Ruff
Booster: Hassan El-Amin
An American icon, August Wilson depicted the human condition like no other playwright of his time. His legacy lives on through his crowning achievement: a cycle of 10 plays chronicling the African American experience, each set in a different decade of the 20th century. Crafted over nearly 25 years, these works garnered Wilson myriad accolades, including a Tony Award and two Pulitzer Prizes. Bringing them together for the first time ever, the Kennedy Center presents staged readings of all 10 of Wilson's masterpieces, frequently dubbed "The Pittsburgh Cycle," as all but one are grounded in the city of his youth.
More than 30 stars of stage and screen join Artistic Director Kenny Leon and six other acclaimed directors for this historic month-long celebration (March 4–April 6, 2008). Complemented with costumes, lighting, and scenery, the plays will be performed in chronological order--collectively revealing Wilson's sweeping vision of the challenge and glory of being black in America.
News and Reviews
August Wilson’s 1900s to Be a Cycle Onstage
The New York Times, February 20, 2008
Watch and Listen
Discovering the Library: Born in an economically-depressed neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA, August Wilson’s young life was changed by a visit to the Carnegie Public Library, where he discovered books relevant to his life and experiences.
The Collaboration Process: A play starts with the playwright’s text, but it is the actors, director, set designer, costumer, and lighting designer and more who bring a production to fruition.
Writing as a Child: August Wilson became fascinated with language and began writing in the second grade.
The Writing Process: The blank page is often seen as a formidable stumbling block for young writers, but August Wilson learned to embrace it: the blank page or canvas allowed him to discover the story as he began to write.
The Stronger Political Act: Describing the work of August Wilson, actor James Earl Jones said, “…when he writes he leaves some blood on the page.
The Artist’s Relationship with the Audience: August Wilson approached his art as an aesthetic statement that impacted audience members not only as individuals, but also as a community.
Recurring Themes: Through his plays, August Wilson made important connections to history, heritage and his ancestors, stressing the responsibility of each generation , and the idea that you must know where you come from to know where you’re going.
The Rehearsal Process: August Wilson saw the characters in his plays as undergoing a process of evolution from his written pages to the live theatre stage.