Dr. Michael Downing Interviewed for Article on August Wilson’s ‘Jitney’

Michael Downing

I am excited to report that the conversation I had with Nadine Matthews of the New York Amsterdam News a few months ago related to August Wilson’s “Jitney” has come full circle and has been published.

The article, titled, “Stage and screen acting vet Santiago-Hudson directs ‘Jitney’ on Broadway” appeared online on Feb. 9, 2017.

The excerpt:

Michael Downing, editor of the August Wilson website and blog and associate professor of English at Kutztown University, remarked, “The beats of the characters, the rhythms of the language, the overall flow and tempo … it’s like hip-hop onstage, punctuated by the regular ringing of the telephone. It crackles. The telephone itself is an excellent device for Wilson, as it enables him to add even more language nuance to the play. As has been established, Wilson’s ear is one of his significant strong points. With the telephone, we get to hear Becker and occasionally other characters speak into the phone and to other characters onstage. In this way, the play actually represents two levels of dialogue, an ‘internal’ voice, used within the jitney station and an ‘external’ voice, used to speak to customers.”

“Jitney” is one of my favorite Wilson plays.  Glad to see it getting solid treatment on Broadway by a legendary director.  It seems Mr. Wilson is getting the attention he so much deserves.

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