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The University Lectures presents playwright August Wilson, March 18
The University Lectures presents playwright August Wilson, March 18March 11, 2003Patrick Farrellpmfarrel@syr.edu
Note to Editors: August Wilson will be available for interviews prior to his lecture. Please call SU News Services to schedule an appointment. Information about the University Lectures can be found at http://provost.syr.edu/lectures/future.asp.
Noted playwright August Wilson will discuss his career in theater as the next speaker in Syracuse University’s University Lectures series. The lecture will take place March 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel and is free and open to the public.
Known for his plays, including “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “The Piano Lesson” and “Jitney,” Wilson has established his reputation as a playwright with a series of plays that examine the African American experience throughout the twentieth century.
Considered an important talent in American theater since the mid-1980s, August Wilson grew up in poverty in Pittsburgh, where he lived with his parents and five siblings. Though he grew up in a poor family, Wilson felt that his parents withheld knowledge of even greater hardships they had endured. That hidden hardship would become the inspiration behind a cycle of plays that explore the African American experience.
Wilson’s his real education began at age 16 when-disgusted by the racist treatment he endured in school-he dropped out and began educating himself in the local library. At the same time, while working menial jobs, he launched his literary career, publishing poems in African American publications at the University of Pittsburgh. His interest in theater began in 1968, when-with no prior experience-he founded a theater company. Recalling those times, Wilson described himself to The New York Times as “a cultural nationalist- trying to raise consciousness through theater.”
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Wilson’s first commercial success, premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1984 and later opened on Broadway, where it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. The play was the first in what has become a cycle of ten plays depicting the African American experience in the United States during the 20th century.
The University Lectures is a cross-disciplinary lecture series that brings to the University individuals of exceptional accomplishment in the areas of architecture and design; the humanities and the sciences; and public policy, management and communications. The series is supported by the generosity of the University’s Trustees, alumni and friends.