‘Giving Voice’ Keeps Wilson’s Memory Alive

By Michael Downing

August Wilson Monologue Competition, Los Angeles, USA - 11 Mar 2019
Daniel Velez, Mylah Eaton, and Dejean Deterville, winners, Los Angeles August Wilson Monologue Competition

Ryan Miller/Shutterstock

An article written by Tambay Obenson of IndieWire covers the upcoming release of the Giving Voice documentary, which follows the lives of six students who participate in the annual August Wilson Monologue Competition.

“Participating students perform a two- to three-minute monologue from any of the plays in August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, in front of a panel of judges, comprised of local theater professionals.”

The link to the article is here.

‘Giving Voice’ Focuses on August Wilson Monologue Competition

By Michael Downing

According to an article written by Dominic Patten of Deadline.com,

monologue
2018 August Wilson Monologue Competition | Huntington Theatre

Giving Voice, a film that “focuses on six young actors as they aim to beat thousands of high school students from across the nation to win the annual August Wilson Monologue Competition in New York City, makes its debut on January 26, 2020 at Park City’s Egyptian Theater (Utah).

Patten: “Wilson was the author of the Tony Award and Pulitzer winning Fences and nine other works in what is known as his Pittsburgh Cycle.”

Link to article

August Wilson Journal Seeking New Editor

August Wilson Journal

Request for Proposals: Editor-in-Chief and Host Institution for August Wilson Journal

The August Wilson Journal is soliciting proposals for the editorship of the August Wilson Journal for a three-year renewable commitment.  The first issue for the new editor will be June 2021, but the appointed editor should be available to work with the current editor in 2020.

The new editor should have thorough knowledge of August Wilson and (preferably) be a tenured faculty member who is conversant with the world of academic publishing.  A successful proposal must demonstrate both the prospective editor’s credentials and the host institution’s support for publishing the journal.  Contact current editor Dr. Michael Downing (downing@kutztown.edu) for more information.

 

 

August Wilson Society 2018 Colloquium a Great Success

cropped-dsc058861.jpgBy Michael Downing

My attention has been so focused on developing the August Wilson Journal and working on my book project that I haven’t been able to keep up with blog posts. But I still would like to do them from time to time, so I’m going to try to get this one published as there is important information to cover.

Go Back and Pick up the Ball Logo 2018August Wilson Society Social Media Coordinator Melonnie Walker has written a piece on the recent release of August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned, so you can look for her post within the next few days.  She’s got some good quotes in there.

Mark Whitaker

Beyond that, the colloquium:  The August Wilson Society’s official colloquium, held the last weekend in April of 2018, was an amazing success. Mark Whitaker, author of Smoketown, was present to discuss his book, the Hill District, and August Wilson, who is covered in the book in some detail.

ConstanzaAugust’s widow, Constanza Romero, attended, updating the group on her activities. She is very busy managing the Estate.  She also talked about her efforts to place August’s primary documents with a university which would be charged with maintaining the material in archival fashion.

Stanford’s Harry Elam was in the house, talking about his interactions with August, as Harry Elamwell as drawing upon material from his book, The Past as Present in the Drama of August Wilson. It was nice to meet Harry and spend some time talking with him at the Hill District Block Party that was held on Saturday, April 28.

Long-time Post-Gazette theater critic and Pitt professor Christopher Rawson was in attendance and actually led  a group of conference goers on a tour of The Hill.  Chris is a fountain of knowledge and is also a member of the August Wilson House committee, which is working to renovate August’s childhood home and make it—with support from Duquesne University—into a place where artists can take up residence.

Sandra Shannon, August Wilson Society president and coordinator of the event, led the charge. Much praise should be delivered to her for her tireless work on all things August Wilson and the conference was no exception.  I think it was successful beyond our wildest dreams.

Perhaps the high point for Sandra was interviewing two “Wilsonian Warriors” via Skype in front of the conference audience (it was a musical director for August’s plays and an actress; I can’t recall their names right now.  I checked the conference program but the names were not listed.  I’ll see if I can track them down).

We were supposed to go up to August Wilson’s birthplace and watch Mark Clayton Southers’ production of King Hedley II, but thunderstorms moved through the area and the event was canceled.

There was much, much more, but I can’t cover it all in a single blog post.  If you want to see the program, click here: 2018 Colloquium Program.

If you want to support the August Wilson Society, click here.

To sum up, the colloquium was well attended and there were connections being made all across the spectrum. It was really amazing. Many thanks to the August Wilson Center for all of their help and support. They were truly awesome.

The next August Wilson Colloquium is tentatively scheduled for April of 2020, most likely at the August Wilson Center.