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The panelists’ share their favorite memory of August Wilson.
August Wilson’s 20th Century Part 6 of 7 Members of the panel reveal which of playwright’s characters they would like to play next or the August Wilson play they would like to direct.
The panelists share their process for preparing for an August Wilson production.
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Todd Kreidler, August Wilson’ dramaturg and collaborator, talks about his experiences working with the playwright.
Michele Shay describes what it is like to represent a character in one of Wilson’s plays.
Members of the panel share the challenges of producing August Wilson’s work as actors, directors, educators and producers.
The panelists describe the impact of August Wilson’s work.
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.
Writing as a Child: August Wilson became fascinated with language and began writing in the second grade.
Growing up as “Youngblood”: August Wilson learned how to survive and become a young adult not only through reading, but also by watching and learning from his elders.
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 Pittsburgh Cycle”: Ten plays, written non-sequentially over a span of twenty years, that chronicle the central issues faced by African-Americans in each decade of the 20th century: Gem of the Ocean (1900s), Radio Golf (1990s) and many more.
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.
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.
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- NPR: "Wilson's 'Century Cycle' Runs at Kennedy Center" - Mar. 16
- Washington Post: “To Showcase August Wilson, Actors Show Their Strengths” -Mar. 15
- Washington Post: "'August Wilson's 20th Century' Is Teeming With Rich Portrayals"
- Washington Times: "'Turner' poetry hangs in the air"
- Washington Post: "A Man of Great Characters" – Mar. 3
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Five-week reading of August Wilson’s epic cycle to begin in D.C."
- Baltimore Sun: "Staging August Wilson"– Mar. 2
- USA Today: "Kennedy Center honors words of August Wilson"– Mar. 2
- Variety: "D.C. pays tribute to August Wilson"– Feb. 29
- Washington Times: "Wilson cycle not black and white" – Feb. 29
- Associated Press article featuring director interviews – Feb. 28