August Wilson, one of the 20th Century's greatest playwrights, died last year at age 60. The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and high school dropout was among the first to put the black American experience, imbued with truthful vernacular, humor, politics and sex, before theatre goers.
On Friday morning, the Florida Memorial University Theater Guild previewed its Wilson tribute production set for this weekend with excerpts from the playwright's famed ten-play cycle. After waiting through canned music well beyond the scheduled 10 a.m. curtain, the small audience at the FMU's Lou Rawls Center for the Performing Arts took in snippets from plays such as Fences, King Hedley, Jitney, Two Trains Running and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom — each set in a different decade.
While a few rough edges seemed evident, the run-through was promising. Ray Lockhart, the recent co-star in Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil at the M Ensemble Theater in North Miami, was especially strong in several roles with an emotional intensity and control of physical subtleties.
10 Plays, Words, Life & the Brilliance of August Wilson will run Saturday-Sunday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10; $5 for students. For more information, call (305) 623-1410.-Rob Jordan
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