The August Wilson Cycle


The ten plays, each representing a decade of the 20th Century. Week 1, biographical information about August Wilson and the Black writers who preceded him. Weeks 2-11, a play each week. Week 12, look at the future of Black writers for theater in the United States.

Weekly Topics

Week 1:  Gem of the Ocean  The shock of freedom at the beginning of the century. 

Week 2:  Joe Turners Come and Gone  Reassembling of identity – 1910-1919 

Week 3:  Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom  The struggle for power in urban America in the Twenties. 

Week 4:  The Piano Lesson  The dilemma of embracing their pasts as slaves in the Thirties. 

Week 5:  Seven Guitars  The promises made and broken to those who served om World War II.

Week 6:  Fences  The fraught adaptation to the bourgeois values of the Fifties.

 Week 7: Two Trains Running – the stagnancy in the midst of the Sixties’ militancy.

Week 8:  Jitney – the disenfranchisement during the boom of the Seventies.

Week 9:  King Hedley II – continuing disenfranchisement in the Eighties.

Week 10 :  Radio Golf  -  the assimilation into the mainstream and the accompanying spiritual alienation of the Nineties

My hope is to integrate the biography of August Wilson into each presentation   


The ten plays, one for each decade of the 20th century, dealing with the  African-American experience in a racial divided United States.

There is  a collection of all 10 plays available, but all are available, individually, on Amazon and Samuel French.  L A libraries have them as well.