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Course Description

Over the course of his career as a dramatist, August Wilson (1945-2005) completed the most ambitious project in the history of American theater, a sequence of works--Jitney, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, King Hedley II, Gem of the Ocean, and Radio Golf--known as the Pittsburgh Cycle. In each play in this ten-work cycle, Wilson depicts a different decade from 1900 to 2000 in the life of the black residents of his hometown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, showing us how their lives are our lives as well. In this course, students will read one play per week. Evening film screenings may be arranged. While biographical, theatrical, and cultural contexts will be addressed, class discussions will focus on Wilson's primary thematic concerns: race, family, and the evolution of the African-American experience across the span of the twentieth century.Lecture (plus Questions) Facilitated Discussion
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