Two Trains Running ( #AugustWilson #CenturyCycle, 7 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 1990 (Broadway 1992) Setting: 1969; Memphis’s small restaurant, Pittsburgh Act I.i Memphis (hard-working and honest) complains that Wolf (notorious numbers runner) is tying up his phone; Risa (waitress with self-scarred legs) doles out sugar at Wolf’s request; Memphis complains his “old lady” left him and wouldn’t even shake his hand; Holloway (whose anger at injustice draws him to the supernatural) describes…

Fences ( #AugustWilson #CenturyCycle, 6 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 1985 Setting: 1957; 1965; Troy Maxon’s lived-in backyard, Pittsburgh A prose prologue contrasts the experience of European immigrants who were embraced by cities, with the opposition faced by the descendants of African slaves. I.i. (Friday evening) Troy (large man) and Bono (his “follower”) “engage in a ritual of talk and drink.” Troy is hoping his union will back his push to…

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Seven Guitars ( #AugustWilson #CenturyCycle, 5 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 1995 Setting: 1948, backyard of a house, Pittsburgh I.i. (Sunday; right after Floyd’s funeral) Louise sings a “bawdy song” as Red Carter and Canewell squabble over pie; Canewell admire’s the preacher’s sermon, and Vera reports seeing six angels that came out of the sky; Canewell and Red Carter confirm they saw the group and spoke to a man from the group;…

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The Piano Lesson ( #AugustWilson #CenturyCycle, 4 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 1987;  Broadway & Pulitzer Prize 1990 Setting: 1930s, Doaker’s house, Pittsburgh Scene description mentions an old upright piano with legs carved in African style. I.i. (5am) Offstage Boy Willie calls, waking Doaker (severe, settled railroad cook). BW introduces Lymon, from “back home.” He asks for Bernice. They have driven from Mississipi in Lymon’s truck, full of watermelons to sell. He tells…

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom ( #AugustWilson #CenturyCycle, 3 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 1984. Setting: a recording studio in Chicago, 1927. 10 characters An opening note describes the context of the city and the significance of blues music. Act I Money-man Sturdyvant orders manager Irvin to keep “her” in line. To Sturdyvant, this is all just business. When band leader Cutler, bassist Slow Drag, and pianist Toledo enter, Sturdyvant is annoyed that Ma isn’t…

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (August Wilson’s Century Cycle, 2 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 1988. Setting: The Hollys’ boarding house, Pittsburgh. 1911. 11 characters (a fairly large cast for a drama, including 2 children who would typically be double-cast; not an easy play to produce) Long stage directions before the first scene describe the children of freed slaves moving north. I.1 (morning) Ornery Seth describes to his long-suffering wife Bertha the “heebie-jeebie” pidgeon-blood ritual that…