August Wilson’s considered Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (1984) to be his favourite play of the ten in his award-winning Pittsburgh Cycle. It is a drama that truly examines the roots, crossroads and intersections of African, American, and African American culture. Its characters and choral griots interweave the intricate tropes of migration from the south to the north, the effects of slavery, black feminism and masculinity, and the Wilson's theme of finding one's 'song' or identity.
This book gives readers an overview of the work from its inception on through its revisions and stagings in regional theatres and Broadway, exploring its use of African American vernacular genres - blues music, folk songs, folk tales, and dance - and 19th Century Southern post-Reconstruction history. Ladrica Menson-Furr presents Joe Turner's Come and Gone as a historical drama, blues drama, American drama, great migration drama, and the finest example of Wilson's gift for re-locating the African American experience in urban southern cities as the beginning and not the end of the African American experience.
Introduction: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone from Memphis, Tennessee to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania; Chapter One: August Wilson—The African American Shakespeare; Chapter Two: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Mr. Wilson’s "Signature Play" and Favorite Play; Chapter Three: Themes and the African American Vernacular Tradition; Chapter Four: Production History and Critical Reception; Chapter 5: Conclusion, August Wilson’s Ode to South; Works Consulted; Index
Routledge’s Fourth Wall books are short, accessible accounts of some of modern theatre’s best loved works. They take a subjective but easily digestible approach to their topics, allowing their authors the opportunity to explore their chosen subject in a way that is absorbing enough to be of use both to lovers of theatre and those who are being asked to study a play more deeply.
Each book in the series looks at a specific play, variously exploring its themes, contexts and characteristics while prioritising original, insightful writing over complexity or scholarly weight. While other cultural products such as albums and films are well served by this kind of writing, the Fourth Wall series aims to find room between rigorous analysis and the short format of reviews or articles. They are extended accounts that get to the heart of their chosen works without being bound by the density that academic treatments can often require.