August Wilson believed strongly in leverage — the idea that, in a capitalist economy, we have to be cognizant of our value in the marketplace, understanding that our clout can and will go down the moment the buyer gets what he wants elsewhere and no longer has any need to be nice. Then, we find ourselves out with the trash. But when they were in the recording booth, it behooved these producers to play nice, given the necessity of getting the licks down on disc.
The story will follow a group of musicians who posit the effects of racism and injustice toward the black community while recording with legendary blues singer Ma Rainey. The original play was one of 10 that Wilson wrote for his Pittsburgh Cycle that focused on the experiences of black Americans. Production commenced this week and will continue through the late summer in Pittsburgh.
It was the first of a series of plays in which Wilson portrayed African American life in the 20th century. The play, set in a recording studio in Chicago infeatures Ma Raineya popular blues singer, and the members of her band. Ma Rainey comments on the violence perpetrated by blacks against other blacks in their frustration over being excluded from white society.
Photo by Michael Brosilow. August Wilson famously tackled the entirety of the 20th century with his poetic works of human tragedy and mythic resilience. It is a beautifully written and deeply moving portrayal of music, ambition, and suffering in the s.
The play explores race relations between blacks and whites in s America and the African-American search for identity. The title comes from the song of the same name, which is at the heart of a major conflict in the play. Wilson pits Levee against Rainey, the band members, and the whites, examining various stripes of inter- and intra-racial conflict.
Buy Tickets Subscribe Donate. Cutler and the band appear shortly, and Levee shows up carrying his new shoes, which he paid for in part with money he won from Cutler the night before playing craps, a dice game. The bulk of act I is comprised of bantering between and among band players, with Levee arguing with almost everyone. The stories the band members tell and the subjects of their arguments both reveal their respective characters and outline a particular struggle blacks historically have had with whites.
August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottomhis first play in a ten-play cycle, each chronicling a decade in the African-American experience, was first performed at the Yale Repertory Theater inthough Wilson began writing the play inafter listening to the blues for more than a decade. Set in a Chicago recording studio inthe two-act drama tells the story of a recording session with blues legend Ma Rainey, her band members, and Toggle navigation.