August Wilson Symposium
An Incessant Journey: Investigating Spirituality in August Wilson’s Twentieth Century African American Play Cycle
BTN 6th President and Consultant to the Executive Board, Mikell Pinkney is organizing a symposium on August Wilson with the theme "An Incessant Journey: Investigating Spirituality in August Wilson’s Twentieth Century African American Play Cycle." The symposium is free to the public and will take place September 17 and 18 in concurrence with the University of Florida production of Wilson's Gem of the Ocean, directed by Pinkney. The event is supported by a grant awarded to Dr. Pinkney who was selected as a runner-up for the University of Florida 2010-2011 Dunlevie Honors Term Professor.
Four authoritative voices on August Wilson's work from the academic, performance and production areas of American theatre will be special guests at the symposium. Actor Ebony Jo-Ann, scholar Dr. Sandra Shannon and theatre producer and advocate Woodie King Jr., will arrive in Gainesville on Friday, Sept. 17th. The invited personalities will join symposium participants for opening night of Gem of the Ocean at Constans Theatre, a small homage reception will follow. Producer, director and scholar Lou Bellamy, long time friend of August Wilson's, will join the symposium via video on Saturday, September 18th, when invited guests will lead discussions on the many facets of "spirituality" as they appear in the works of August Wilson.
Objective. Using the first play of the cycle, Gem of the Ocean, as a launching pad into discussion and discovery, the symposium will focus on the spiritual journeys and links that run through the characters in all ten plays, from Aunt Ester Tyler in the first play to Harmond Wilkes in the last play, Radio Golf.
The Discourse. The event seeks to explore spirituality within Wilson’s use of magic, supernatural aspects, prophecies, music, visions and characters that are not confined by traditional world convention.
Intent. With leadership and assistance from noted August Wilson specialists, both academic scholars and practicing artists, the intent is to utilize the papers, panels and discussions presented during the symposium for edited publication. A wider goal is to shine light on the powerful elements of spirituality that run through all of Black dramatic literature.
How can you participate? Different ways have been set up to get the public involve--even for those who cannot attend the event in person. Interested persons may:
- Attend the symposium and participate in lively discussions
- Present a paper at the symposium
- Submit a paper
- Share thoughts and opinions in an open blog section
- Share photographs of August Wilson's production as they relate to the topic of "spirituality."
The symposium is limited seatting so interested participants are urged to register online at http://wilsonsymposium.pandpprojects.net/