August Wilson is widely regarded as one of the finest playwrights of the modern era, and now is your chance to take a first-hand glimpse of one of the most prolific authors in American theater.
On Saturday, February 11th, Passage Theatre Company will host the workshop “Engaging the Pittsburgh Cycle: The Work of August Wilson.” This workshop will occur at the Mill Hill Playhouse, 205 E Front St, Trenton, NJ 08611. The course will be held from 11 am-3 pm, and tickets are available for $20 per person. If you’re interested in attending, registration is open here: Register – Engaging the Pittsburgh Cycle.
This course is based on the works of August Wilson, who is esteemed amongst the ranks of greats such as Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams. In reverence to his profound body of work, Wilson has been dubbed “theater’s poet of Black America.” His most famous works include Fences, The Piano Lesson, and Seven Guitars. This fascinating and in-depth workshop will walk you through each of the ten plays in Wilson’s Pittsburgh cycle, focusing on cultural history, The Blues, and how all ten sports intertwine.
August Wilson’s complex and storied upbringing is critical to understanding the perspectives brought forth throughout the Pittsburgh Cycle. Wilson was born in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, which would later become the backdrop for most of his work. The Hill District was a lively but economically disadvantaged part of town, and this experience was formative to Wilson’s later works. August was born to a Black mother and white father, defining his experience of race as a child. August’s father eventually left, leaving his mother, Daisy Wilson, to raise him and his five siblings.
After some time, Wilson’s mother remarried, and his family moved from a predominantly African-American neighborhood to the suburb of Hazelwood, which was primarily white. Upon arriving at Hazelwood, Wilson endured multiple instances of racism, culminating in an accusation of plagiarism at the age of 15. From this point forward, Wilson transitioned to self-education and learned from community members. It was here that he would begin to embrace the Black Arts movement in the 1960s, and from there, the rest was history.
The Pittsburgh Cycle refers to Wilson’s series of 10 plays that document African-Americans’ lived experiences throughout the 20th century. These plays utilize social context and historical situations to frame the narrators’ lives for each play’s decade. All but one of these plays takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, hence the name of this thought-provoking body of work. The sports begin in the 1900s, with the series’ concluding play in the 1990s. The 20th century was an impactful and profound time for the African-American community. Each portion of the Pittsburgh Cycle invites the audience to engage with the perspectives and progress of each work’s era.
Passage Theatre Company, a staple in the Trenton arts community, produces this informative workshop. Beyond bringing world-class performances to the Capital City, Passage Theatre Company seeks to engage audiences in abundant diversity throughout the human experience. Their mission places social change and inclusivity at the core of their ethos, bringing this perspective to each performance they produce. Passage Theatre Company offers audiences the chance to connect through a shared experience, placing empathy, community, and inclusion at the core of what they do.
The workshop will be an educational and encouraging afternoon of study, so be sure not to miss out on this beautiful opportunity! If you have any questions before the event, please get in touch with Passage Theatre’s Breshon Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 609-392-0766 x104. If you’d like to read more about all the fantastic educational opportunities Passage Theatre offers, you can read more on their website here: Passage Studio School. In addition, the passage’s calendar of productions is also available here: Shows & Events – P.T.C. Now is your chance to dive into the works of one of our nation’s finest playwrights, taught by some of Trenton’s finest artists.
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