In 1979 August Wilson began writing the first play in what would become his Century Cycle. Over the next two and half decades he wrestled the truth of black experiences first onto the page and then onto the stage. In the ten plays that make up the Century Cycle (or Pittsburgh Cycle), Wilson creates characters that, in his words, “still place their faith in America's willingness to live up to the meaning of her creed so as not to make a mockery of her ideals. It is this belief in America's honor that allows them to pursue the American Dream even as it remains elusive” (New York Times, April 23, 2000).
By exploring black experiences in each decade of the twentieth century, Wilson creates a rich context for understanding current protests for social justice — and for imagining a world where we search for ways of being, of living life more fully.
Scholars and artists from history, art, communication, English, music, theater, and the Unity Center invite you to a series of forums devoted to each play in Wilson’s Century Cycle. Scheduled from August 2020 to May 2021, these forums include presentations, performances, and discussions (via WebEx).
In an essay published in The New York Times in 2000, Wilson wrote, “I wanted to place [black American] culture on stage in all its richness and fullness and to demonstrate its ability to sustain us in all areas of human life and endeavor and through profound movements of our history in which the larger society has thought less of us than we have thought of ourselves.”
Join us as we wrestle with the truth, celebrate this culture, and strive to live up to our American creed.
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