A Search for a Postmodern Theater: Interviews with Contemporary Playwrights

By John L. DiGaetani | Go to book overview

AUGUST WILSON

August Wilson has won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for two of his plays: Fences and The Piano Lesson. Arguably the most important contemporary black playwright, Wilson's plays have attracted large audiences both on Broadway and in regional theaters around the country.

Wilson's first professionally staged play was Black Bart and the Sacred Hills, staged in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1981. Jitney appeared in Pittsburgh the following year. Wilson's first major play, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, was first staged at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Conn. in 1984, then quickly moved to Broadway. Fences was also first staged at Yale in 1985, and then New York two years later where it won a Pulitzer Prize. Joe Turner's Come and Gone also premiered at Yale Rep in New Haven, 1986, and also moved to Broadway. The Piano Lesson was also first mounted at Yale Rep and several regional theaters, and appeared on Broadway in 1989, winning another Pulitzer Prize for Wilson.

Wilson is an associate of the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis and New Dramatists in New York. He was received a Jerome Fellowship, a Bush Fellowship, a Rockefeller Fellowship, a McKnight Fellowship, four New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Foundation Award, two American Theatre Critics Awards, an Outer Circle Award, two Drama Desk Awards, a John Gassner Award, a Tony Award, as well as the two Pulitzer Prizes.

DiGaetani: I found your essay in the New York Times, "I Want a Black Director," very interesting because a lot of black and other ethnic projects have been botched by directors who are insensitive to the realities of the culture being portrayed in the piece.

Wilson: Blacks have traditionally had to operate in a situation where whites have set themselves up as the custodians of the black experience.

-275-

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A Search for a Postmodern Theater: Interviews with Contemporary Playwrights
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Robert Anderson 1
  • Alan Ayckbourn 15
  • Eric Bentley 27
  • Ed Bullins 39
  • Mart Crowley 47
  • Jules Feiffer 55
  • Horton Foote 65
  • Michael Frayn 73
  • Larry Gelbart 83
  • Amlin Gray 91
  • Simon Gray 97
  • John Guare 105
  • A. R. Gurney 113
  • ChriS+̄topher Hampton 121
  • William M. Hoffman 133
  • Israel Horovitz 139
  • Tina Howe 149
  • David Henry Hwang 161
  • Albert Innaurato 175
  • David Ives 183
  • Barrie Keeffe 191
  • Romulus Linney 199
  • Craig Lucas 211
  • Terrence Mcnally 219
  • Adrian Mitchell 229
  • Richard Nelson 237
  • Marsha Norman 245
  • Eric Overmyer 253
  • David Storey 259
  • Timberlake Wertenbaker 265
  • August Wilson 275
  • Lanford Wilson 285
  • Paul Zindel 295
  • Bibliography 305
  • Index 309
  • About the Author *
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