Guest Observation: August Wilson

Went with some friends to the Berkeley Repertory Theater this afternoon to see “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” part of the playwright August Wilson’s historical cycle of African-American life. It was a great show — and I’d say see this or any other production. A favorite passage:

” … When you look at a fellow, if you taught yourself to look for it, you could see his song written on him. Tell you what kind of man he is in the world. Now, I can look at your, Mr. Loomis, and see you a man who done forgot his song. Forgot how to sing it. A fellow forget that and he forget who he is. Forget how he’s supposed to mark down life. Now, I used to travel all up and down this road and that … looking here and there. Searching, just like you, Mr. Loomis. I didn’t know what I was searching for. The only thing I knew was something was keeping me dissatisfied. Something wasn’t making my heart smooth and easy. Then one day my daddy gave me a song. That song had a weight to it that was hard to handle. That song was hard to carry. I fought against it. Didn’t want to accept that song. I tried to find my daddy to give him back the song. But I found out it wasn’t his song. It was my song. It had come from way deep inside me. I looked long back in memory and gathered up pieces and snatches of things to make that song. I was making it up out of myself. And that song helped me on the road. Made it smooth to where my footsteps didn’t bite back at me. All the time that song getting bigger and bigger. That song growing with each step of the road. It got so I used all of myself up in the making of that song. Then I was the song in search of itself. That song rattling in my throat and I’m looking for it. See, Mr. Loomis, when a man forgets his song he goes off in search of it … till he finds out he’s got it with him all the time. …”

Links:

The book (at Amazon.com)

The Berkeley Rep production

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