Step right up and see the play that launched a juggernaut into the world and which is, was and probably will be unsurpassed and unparalleled in theater history. Wilson, of course, is the most famous playwright to have been born in Pittsburgh although George S. Kaufman could also lay claim to that title and an additional feature of the decalogy is that the plays are all set in Pittsburgh. The play is about the band and the bargains black men specifically, but not exclusively, in are forced to make in an explicitly and implicitly hostile world.
It was music that spoke to Wilson, seeping into his soul and pouring out again in his writing. I think the blues are the best literature that blacks have. It is an expression of our people and our response to the world. I am the blues. That connects. That is in itself a way of being, separate and distinct from any other.
Strong cast brings life to August Wilson’s ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ at Pittsburgh Playwrights
The musicians - the blues singer Gertrude Ma Rainey and her four band members - are just doing a gig: they make their music for the ''race'' division of a white-owned record company and they get their money. But within this footnote to cultural history, Mr. Wilson has lighted a dramatic fuse that snakes and hisses through several anguished eras of American life.
If anyone knows where I may read it online, I will be forever grateful. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet.