August Wilson Essay

Submitted By shav100
Words: 622
Pages: 3

Shavanna Reid

August Wilson has contributed a lot to American Theatre. Many of his works such as the Piano Lesson and Fences are still very famous today. When Wilson began writing his plays, he had little experience with theater, having only seen two plays, and no formal training. Wilson created his own rules for his plays. Wilson also had no particular method of writing his plays. According to it states that August Wilson carved his signature on American theater by capturing the changing texture of black life in America his ten plays, each covering a different decade of the twentieth century. About his achievement, he remarked in American Theatre: "From the beginning, I decided not to write about historical events or the pathologies of the black community. The details of our struggle to survive and prosper, in what has been a difficult and sometimes bitter relationship with a system of laws and practices that deny us access to the tools necessary for productive and industrious life, are available to any serious student of history or sociology.” It was not until 1978, however, when he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, that Wilson began to produce mature dramas. His first piece, “Jitney” a tale of a group of workers and travelers in a taxi station, was well-received locally and praised especially for its experiments in black urban speech. According to, it states that His authentic sounding characters has brought a new understanding of the black experience to audiences in a series of plays, each one addressing people of color in each decade of the twentieth century. Although Wilson's "decade" plays were not written in chronological order, the consistent, and key, theme in Wilson's dramas is the sense of disconnection suffered by blacks uprooted from their original homeland. He told the Chicago Tribune that "by not developing their own tradition, a more African response to the world, [African Americans] lost their sense of identity." Wilson devoted himself to helping black people know their roots in order to help them understand themselves, and his plays demonstrate the black struggle to gain this understanding—or escape from it. Charles Whittaker, a critic for Ebony in 2001 wrote, "Each of the eight plays he has produced to date is set in a different decade of the 20th century, a device that has enabled