73 pages 2 hours read

August Wilson


Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1986

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  • Genre: Fiction; realistic historical drama
  • Originally Published: 1986
  • Reading Level/Interest: Grades 11-12; college/adult
  • Structure/Length: 2 acts; 4 scenes in Act I, 5 scenes in Act II; approx. 101 pages; approx. 2 hours, 19 minutes running time
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: In this sixth play of Wilson’s collection of 10 plays known as The Pittsburgh Cycle (or The Century Cycle), Troy Maxson is middle-aged and dissatisfied with his life. Despite his evident talent for baseball as a younger man, he was not permitted a career in the major leagues as a Black player. He served a prison term for murder, then became a garbage truck driver. Now, his unfulfillment manifests in troubled relationships with his wife, Rose, and son, Cory.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Adultery; physical abuse and rape; racism and discrimination; mental health issues; gender issues; death

August Wilson, Author

  • Bio: 1945-2005; born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; dropped out of high school at 15 after being accused of plagiarism; taught himself and read widely in the following years, often noting on coffee shop napkins ideas for poems and characters; inspired by the Black Arts Movement; helped to found Pittsburgh’s Black Horizons Theatre (1968); met with significant success with Jitney and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; known for The American Century Cycle (also called The Pittsburgh Cycle), a group of 10 plays that reveal the Black experience in America from the 1900s to the 1990s; received two Pulitzer Prizes (for The Piano Lesson and Fences)
  • Other Works: Jitney (1982); Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (1984); The Piano Lesson (1987); Gem of the Ocean (2003)
  • Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Best Play (1987); Tony Award for Best Play (1987)