August Wilson: ‘The Ground on Which I Stand’ PBS Doc Airs Tonight

Legendary playwright August Wilson.  (Photo: Google Images)

Legendary playwright August Wilson.
(Photo: Google Images)

Writing for The Root, the Burton Wire‘s founder & editor-in-chief Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D. reviews the new PBS documentary on legendary playwright August Wilson. American Masters—August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand airs on PBS tonight. Read an excerpt from the article below:

EXCERPT BEGINS

American Masters—August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand, airing on PBS Feb. 20, gives an inside look at a private man referred to by many as an outsider. Wilson, the brilliant Pittsburgh-born playwright who wrote 10 plays—nine of which took place in his hometown—covering 10 decades, explored the cultural ideas and attitudes of what playwright-actor-director Ruben Santiago-Hudson calls “a specific type of people.” Through Wilson’s words and those of people closest to him, including colleagues, friends, family and community elders, along with excerpts from his award-winning plays, viewers are given a glimpse into the extraordinary life lived by an ordinary man.

The Ground on Which I Stand offers various types of commentary—scholarly, familial and collegial—about the mister behind the master of literature, who was able to capture the spirit and culture of a people in a way that is described as “super reality” in the documentary. The audience learns about the man behind the mythical figure who churned out Pulitzer Prize-winning plays and poetry that explored “the frustration and the glory of being black” (pdf) in America, as Santiago-Hudson says.

Wilson’s ability to show the beauty and brilliance of a group of people living on the margins of society in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, a place that is clearly a center of African-American life and culture, is unparalleled. He was able to articulate the language and draw meaning from the precarious pressure-filled spaces to create images of blackness that are complicated, rhythmic and powerful.

EXCERPT ENDS

Read the article in its entirety on The Root. Check local listings for channel and airtime.

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