Academic journal article African American Review

August Wilson's Call: Notes from Editors

Academic journal article African American Review

August Wilson's Call: Notes from Editors

Article excerpt

In a speech delivered on June 26, 1996, to the 11th biennial Theatre Communications Group Conference at Princeton University, August Wilson, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama, issued the following call: "The time has come for Black playwrights, Black theatre intellectuals, and Black theatre artists to confer with one another ... to come together to meet each other face to face, to address questions of aesthetics and ways to defend ourselves from nay-sayers who would trumpet our talents as insufficient to warrant the same manners of investigation and exploration as the majority. We need to develop guidelines for the protection of our cultural property, our contributions, and the influence they accrue.... Artists, playwrights, actors, [intellectuals,] we can be the spearhead of a new movement to reignite and reunite our people's positive energy for a political and social change that is reflective of our spiritual truths.... "

"The call" sparked controversy which resulted in a debate at Town Hall in Manhattan on January 27, 1997, where August Wilson and Robert Brustein (his chief critic) debated issues such as color-blind /nontraditional casting, Black-owned theaters, and the social importance of theatre. …

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