The Playgoer: The Wilson Cycle

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Wilson Cycle

Campbell Robertson reports in today's Arts, Briefly:

Though August Wilson died last year, he is continuing to dominate the American theater landscape. He is the featured playwright of the Signature Theater Company’s season, and a production of his play “Radio Golf” is making its way to Broadway. Now the Kennedy Center has announced that it will present Mr. Wilson’s 10-play cycle in a monthlong festival in spring 2008. The plays, which take place almost entirely in Pittsburgh, explore the black experience in the 20th century, one decade at a time. They will be presented as staged readings, a few each week, at the center’s Terrace Theater. On the weekends, the previous week’s readings will be presented together. “We want people to have a sense of the sweep of them,” said Michael M. Kaiser, the Kennedy Center’s president. “We’d rather present them in a way that you can come in a weekend and see three, so you can start to see how it progresses from decade to decade.” The artistic director of the series, called “August Wilson’s 20th Century” will be Kenny Leon, who is now directing the Broadway-bound production of “Radio Golf,” the last play of the cycle. Mr. Leon will also direct some of the staged readings; two other directors will be named.
I've been wondering if anyone would ever muster the forces for such a marathon. Full productions would be even cooler, but you can imagine the expense. Not to mention the endurance required from audiences. I mean, three plays for "Coast of Utopia" is one thing--but ten plays?

EXTRA! More from Playbill, here.

1 comment:

Art said...

Regional investment in a full cycle of Wilson productions is what is needed for it to happen.

In Boston, we have 2-3 major regional houses, about 5-7 medium sized companies, and then probably 4 or so smaller companies that are more than up to the task of presenting these plays.

If people worked in concert, like the Suzan Lori Parks 365 festival thing, it really would not be that hard to realize such a thing as a season long Wilson marathon.

Is there a region Bold enough to initiate it? My money is on Chicago.