A narrative of August Wilson’s Pittsburgh cycle, together with fences and Ma Rainey’s black bum

You loved Fences and you just saw Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. What’s next? Well, in case you didn’t know, you’ve actually just seen two full decades of the black experience, as those two films account for 20% of August Wilson’s famous playwright, Pittsburgh Cycle, also known on the Century Cycle.

When I was in college I was obsessed with two playwrights named August, and they were August Strindberg and August Wilson. And while Strindberg definitely messed up my headspace with pieces like Miss Julie and A Dream Play, it was August Wilson I actually connected with, which is why I read every piece in the Century Cycle. So I just wanted to give you a little history lesson on each play in chronological order, as well as which actors and actresses are well-suited to playing key roles for those who haven’t been adapted. Denzel Washington has reported that he wants to turn each of these pieces into a movie, so I thought I could just make some suggestions as to who should be selected for which roles. Alright now. Let’s begin.

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