I finally got the weird middle aged man at the library to talk with me. He’s mostly kind of chilly, but when I came up with an armload of August Wilson plays, it worked for him. He told me all about how people have been checking out his plays recently, how he read about Denzel Washington’s directorial choices for the new movie, all kinds of stuff.
I really like reading the cast lists for these plays from the 1980s. In this one, we had Charles S Dutton of “Roc” and Alien 3 fame. And then in a different version, we had Delroy Lindo of well…I like Delroy Lindo. Also, this play originally starred Angela Bassett in a small role.
August Wilson is just a really good writer. Point blank. No argument.
His plays are not plot heavy in general and they avoid some of the things I really dislike about plays. Weird soliloquies that are waxing annoying about whatever.
In this play we have a small boarding house in 1911 Pittsburgh that is acting as a kind of waystation between the North and the South and between the real world and the spiritual world. This is a play about commitment and redemption and how these ideas interplay. Seth and Bertha run the house and there’s some craggy regulars like Bynum and Jeremy and Selig. Then one day, Herald Loomis and his daughter Zonia come along and pay their week’s rent. Turns out Herald has a past and Seth no longer wants to board him. But he’s paid his way and he gets his week. In the week that comes, Herald is looking for his wife after years of being on the chain gang and uses the services of Selig, a conjure man, to help find her. There’s a lot of talk about the past, about migration and transmigration, and the different things that come along with it.
Again, August Wilson is good. This is a perfectly reading experience. It would be really enjoyable to see performed.