Might as Well Be Driving Jitneys

The M Ensemble and the evermore relevant Mr. Wilson

But I think Wilson knew damn well that themes are universal wherever you find them.

The central dramas of Jitney have to do with dignity, with making your way in a world that is largely indifferent to you. Of course such a concept was for decades foreign to white audiences, mostly secure in their homes, jobs, and upward mobility. The thought you'd have to fight for a place to live was theoretical. Now such concerns are ordinary life.

Barnes (left), Gainey, and Seven, behind the wheel
Barnes (left), Gainey, and Seven, behind the wheel

Details

Written by August Wilson. Directed by John Pryor. With Andre L. Gainey, Summer Hill Seven, Chat Atkins, Earlington Taylor, Keith C. Wade, William Barnes, Herman Carabali II, Amber Wilson, and Phillip A. Johnson. Through December 16. The M Ensemble Company, 12320 W Dixie Hwy, North Miami; 305-895-8955, www.themensemble.com.

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So if you're outside Wilson's stated target audience, why not head over to M Ensemble anyway? You'll see a good show, have a few laughs, feel a few emotions. As you do, remember this show was not written for you; it was written five presidents ago by a man with an instinctive aversion to universality. One can assume August Wilson hoped for a future in which the doubts and hardscrabble lives of his jitney drivers would be foreign to everybody. It'd be nice to share some of the ire his ghost must feel that things have gone exactly the other way.

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