August Wilson's Plays

August Wilson’s Plays | Tempest Challenge BHM

This entry is part 17 of 18 in the series Tempest Challenge: Black History Month

When I was a wee Tempest by mother took me with her on a business trip to New York City. We had tickets to see the original Broadway run of Fences with James Earl Jones playing the lead. After the play, we went backstage and I met him. I don’t know¬†how she pulled that off. My mother was a magical fairy of some type. It didn’t completely sink in how amazing that moment was when it happened to me, but I do remember being fascinated with the play. I was too young for it, probably, but I understood enough.

The only reason I have not yet seen the movie Fences is because I still have the memory of that performance in my head. And it was so powerful and so wonderful I don’t want to do anything that might change or erase it.

Still. Everyone needs to see Fences1. It needed to be brought to the big screen. Because everyone needs to experience the power of August Wilson’s plays.

You can buy his Pittsburgh Cycle/Century Cycle plays, of which Fences is one, as a bound edition. And if you read them, you will start to understand Wilson’s brilliance as you also come to understand the Black American experience he was trying to illuminate. It’s just that reading plays is never the same as attending them. They weren’t meant to be read–though Wilson of course knew that some folks would only ever get to read and not see them. This is why I say the movie is important.

Rent Fences, buy Fences, tell your friends about Fences, understand Fences. And then read all the rest and write letters to Denzel Washington begging him to please, please keep going and make all of these plays into movies.


  1. I mean right now. It’s streaming. Get it. []