Latino Theatre Projects wants to share big news with you about our upcoming project. Few theater goers dispute the universal appeal of August Wilson’s plays. Within the specificity of African-American experience, Wilson presents fundamental themes—love, honor, duty, betrayal—and gives voice to a full collective humanity. This is evidenced in his ongoing success both nationally and […]
Latino Theatre Projects wants to share big news with you about our upcoming project.
Few theater goers dispute the universal appeal of August Wilson’s plays. Within the specificity of African-American experience, Wilson presents fundamental themes—love, honor, duty, betrayal—and gives voice to a full collective humanity. This is evidenced in his ongoing success both nationally and abroad.
Existing translations have shown that the poetry of Wilson’s plays retains its power in other languages. In the United States, the Latin American community has been eager to see Wilson’s American Century Cycle, produced in Spanish. Wilson’s plays are current and illuminating also for international Spanish-speaking audiences, whose countries include large populations of African descendants and share with Wilson’s characters the heritage of the African diaspora.
Since Wilson’s death in 2005, his literary estate, under the executorship of Colombia-born Constanza Romero (Wilson’s widow), has been seeking ways to keep Wilson’s works vital for generations to come. In keeping with this endeavor, 2019 will mark the first time audiences will hear a Spanish translation of any of Wilson’s plays in the United States.
Romero, who speaks fluent Spanish, will direct a reading of Wilson’s masterpiece, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Joe Turner vino y se fue) at the Seattle Repertory Theater with English supertitles, in collaboration with Latino Theater Projects and assisted by its Producing Artistic Director Fernando Luna, who will also be the dramaturge for the project.
Joe Turner lends itself fluidly to the cosmology and the magic realism of Latin American literature. The character of Bynum is a “curandero,” a wise and mystical man who binds people together with his herbs and blood rituals. Interestingly, he invokes the Voodoo tradition, which came originally from West Africa and spread across the coastal regions of the Americas and the Caribbean via the slave trade. Many stories of displacement took place in these areas, as is the case for the character of Loomis in Joe Turner.
Moreover, the struggles of Afro Latinos have not been given full voice in many of these countries. The spiritual twists and turns in Joe Turner include the power of the Juba, a song which gives flight to the resilience of the human spirit. A Latin American lens will illuminate the play’s final moment, an exalted act of self determination as more cultures and different artists continue to advance Wilson’s universal message.
The public reading of José Turner Vino y Se Fue will be in the Poncho Forum at the Seattle Repertory Theatre on Monday, June 10 at 7:30 PM. It is part of the SRT´s ¨Other Season¨. Casting will feature Spanish-speaking African-descended, Latino, and African-American actors. Check back on our blog for casting updates and other breaking news about this important undertaking!