Unprecedented access to Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright August Wilson’s theatrical archives, rarely seen interviews, and new dramatic readings bring to life his seminal 10-play cycle chronicling each decade of the 20th-century African American experience—including “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” soon to be performed by the South Bend Civic Theater and their decade-long August Wilson Project.
Filmed in the cities where Wilson made his mark, the documentary begins in Pittsburgh’s Hill District where the future playwright was a brainy, bi-racial child raised in poverty, who dropped out of high school because of bullying and prejudice. Self-educated in the city’s public library and streets, Wilson was influenced by the rising black consciousness of the 1960s and became a young, activist poet.
Film and theater luminaries including Viola Davis, Charles Dutton, Laurence Fishburne, James Earl Jones, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Phylicia Rashad share their stories of the career- and life-changing experience of bringing Wilson’s rich theatrical voice to the stage. Wilson’s sister Freda Ellis, his widow and costume designer Constanza Romero, as well as friends, colleagues and scholars trace Wilson’s influences, creative evolution, triumphs, struggles and quest for cultural determinism before his untimely death from liver cancer.
Following the film, join representatives of the South Bend Civic Theater alongside members of the cast and crew of “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” to speak about Wilson’s legacy and their upcoming performance of his work.
To honor the ownership and rights of the filmmakers, this event is offered in-person only for free.
Masks over the mouth and nose are required of both vaccinated and un-vaccinated guests for the duration of the event.
INDIANA UNIVERSITY SOUTH BEND
CIVIL RIGHTS HERITAGE CENTER
1040 WEST WASHINGTON
SOUTH BEND, IN 46601
Originally published at raceandresilience.nd.edu.