Skip to main content

The Flip Side: Remembering August Wilson (and Prince, and Jon Snow)

iPhoto caption: David Cooper Photography
/By / Apr 26, 2016

This week I learned that Jon Snow is officially dead, that the Guggenheim in New York acquired a solid-gold toilet that will actually function, and that Harriet Tubman is the new face of the American $20 bill. In other words, lots happened. Of equal note—and perhaps higher relevance to the theatre community—on Monday April 18 the McCarter Theatre Centre and Princeton University’s Lewis Centre for the Arts hosted an event, comprised of a panel discussion and reading, that commemorated twenty years since August Wilson’s now-famous speech The Ground on Which I Stand. The full panel can be viewed here.

If you’re not familiar with August Wilson, I suggest taking a minute or two to look him up. A Tony-winning and two-time Pulitzer-winning playwright, his legacy is a series of ten plays, The Pittsburgh Cycle, each of which is set in a different decade, most of which take place in Pittsburgh’s Hill District (a historically black neighbourhood), and all of which channel the African American experience.

In 1996, Wilson addressed the members in attendance at the Theatre Communications Group National Conference. His speech covered issues of race, diversity, and opportunity in American theatre. Last week’s event made two things evident. First, that Wilson—already regarded as one of the foremost playwrights of the 20th century—was instrumental in starting the conversation about equal opportunity in the theatre community. And second, that though much progress has been made, the relevance of his speech indicates the lengths we have to go. You can read about last week’s panel here.

In other news…

  • A fun quiz was released by the Guardian in honour of Shakespeare’s 400th. Who knew Justin Bieber and Shakespeare were so similar?
  • Jennifer Hudson, Cynthia Erivo, and the cast of The Color Purple honour Prince with an unbelievable performance of Purple Rain following their April 21st performance. Have a listen.


Hannah Antaki

Hannah Antaki

Hannah works in casting, the only profession that allows her to truthfully use work as an excuse to stay home and watch TV. A dropout of both preschool and law school, she loves Montreal bagels, Harry Potter, and conversations about diversity. Her diet starts tomorrow.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Flip Side: A Changeable World

This week in theatre news: plays about gun control are opening in Philadelphia and L.A., we find out what comes next for Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Hermione meets Hermione.

By Hannah Antaki
iPhoto caption: Sweatshirt by Shelfies

The Flip Side: Hockey Trades Aside, Canada is Pretty Alright

Our Prime Minister has never even hinted at building a wall and, more importantly, he is a real treat to look at.

By Hannah Antaki

The Flip Side: Brexit Sucks for the Arts, Too

It happened. The UK is leaving the EU. Britain has left the building.

By Hannah Antaki

The Flip Side: A Sense of Community

Grey ribbons, funeral protection, “love is love”: the theatre community is banding together in the wake of last weekend’s mass shooting at an Orlando gay club.

By Hannah Antaki

The Flip Side: Just Give All the Awards to Lin-Manuel Miranda

Get ready for the best eleven minutes of your life.

By Hannah Antaki

The Flip Side: Cursed Children and Lucky Londoners

In one week, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will begin previews, enriching the lives of Harry Potter fans, human beings in general, and the English-language theatre canon.

By Hannah Antaki