We went to see this amazing play by August Wilson at the Manhattan Theatre Club.
Here is the stage set that greeted us on entry into the theatre; a set that takes you straight into the cityscape of Harlem, very reminiscent of the paintings of Romare Beardon– who was an almost exact contemporary of August Wilson:
The play was electrifying. During the first 15 minutes it was quite difficult adjusting to the strong African American accents, but there was thereafter so much powerful dramatic confrontative action that I found myself drawn into the events and found the language barrier just disappeared- a little like what happens in a great production of Shakespeare.
The play itself is incredibly poignant, memorable and filled with wisdom. The author, whose mother was African American, presents situation that are so close to the bone of the African American experience and yet he injects such compassion and understanding. Most powerfully, he critiques the reactions of African Americans to White Americans and shows/ teaches that a reaction of hostility or blame can only undermine the possibilities for African Americans. Yes there is definitely a “teacherly” element in this play, Wilson definitely wants his African American audience to sit up and pay attention to new paradigms of behaviour. His handling of male/ female relationships was beautifully constructed and gave a real insight into what undermines and builds relationships. I have to say, compared to last night’s production of The Waitress – which was undoubtedly a brilliant piece of musical theatre- this play (Jittney) in terms of the social and moral significance of its contents, – stands, in my estimation, head and shoulders above last nights extravaganza! Well done August Wilson: