Drama / Casting: 6m, 5f / Scenery: Interior Sets Set in a black boardinghouse in Pittsburgh in 1911, this drama by the author of The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars and Fences is an installment in the author's series chronicling black life in each decade of this century. Each denizen of the boardinghouse has a different relationship to a past of slavery as well as to the urban present. They include the proprietors, an eccentric clairvoyant with a penchant for old country voodoo, a young homeboy up from the South and a mysterious stranger who is searching for his wife.
"Gives haunting voice to the souls of the American dispossessed."-The New York Times
"It is Wilson's epic vision, power and poetic sense that lift Joe Turner to strange and compelling heights."-New York Daily News
"A lovely, moving play."-New York Post
I struggled to get through this play because of the formatting. I've not read very many plays, besides Shakespeare, and the novel in me wanted more details about the characters. It is clear that the best way to experience this text is on the stage and I would love to see a play of August Wilson's on stage one day.
I read Joe Turner for my Ethnicity in Literature class and it sparked great discussion about slavery, racism, and religion. It was quick 90 page play but the impact outweighed the length in my opinion.
Some of the characters were intriguing while others were hard to like (Seth, Rutherford) but the play placed the reader into their daily lives in 1911. I believe the play would have been amazing as a full novel exploring all of the characters in the boarding house.
The middle and the end of the play were highly metaphorical and I would suggest reading it multiple times to gain the significance of the scenes.
I recommend checking this one out on the stage! :)
4 Stars Out of 5