Sunday, March 03, 2013

August Wilson: Two Trains Running

A live performance of any August Wilson play tends to motivate me to "reach back" (as my Dad would say) and go see it, regardless of what else is going on. Recently, I was lucky enough to attend a new production of Wilson's Two Trains Running (1990), which is part of his Pittsburgh series and in this case set in 1969. The plot is simple but compelling. The set consists of the inside of a diner that stands in the way of "urban renewal" and subject to eminent domain.

Seven characters appear on stage at one time or another -- six men and one woman.

Much of the story is told through multiple dimensions via concepts of race, gender, socioeconomic class, location (geography) and time period.

But: the story could be retold from the perspective of any time and any place without losing some of the core gravitas of the situation. Change is coming, regardless of what people wish. How best to respond? Indeed, invaders could be approaching, ready to conquer -- thousands of years ago or in the 21st century.

August Wilson doesn't make things too hard on his audience, mixing conflict with humor, provinciality with catholic tastes. So far, I've liked every production of an August Wilson play to date, of the ones I've been fortunate enough to attend, ranging from Detroit to Fort Worth. If you're reading this, you might, too.

Today's Rune: Joy.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

This one sounds really good. I don't know if his work has been produced here locally. I'll have to look into it.