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Joe Turner's Come and Gone

Joe Turner's Come and Gone
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: August Wilson
Publisher: Samuel French (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 168
Pub. Date: 1990
ISBN-10: 0573691428
ISBN-13: 9780573691423
Cast Size: 5 female, 6 male
About the Play:

Joe Turner's Come and Gone has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Male Monologues and Female/Male Scenes. 

Joe Turner's Come and Gone is a full length drama by August Wilson. Set in 1911 in a black boardinghouse in Pittsburgh, Joe Turner's Come and Gone chronicles the experience of a man who has escaped from a chain-gang to search for the wife he lost many years earlier. August Wilson gives haunting voice to the souls of this dispossessed group of Americans at the beginning of the century. It is his epic vision, power and poetic sense that lift their stories to strange and compelling heights.

Joe Turner's Come and Gone is set in a black boardinghouse in Pittsburgh in 1911. Each resident of a Black boardinghouse has a different relationship to their past of slavery, as well as to their urban present. They include the proprietors, an eccentric clairvoyant with a penchant for old country voodoo, a young homeboy up from the South and Harold Loomis, a mysterious stranger who is searching for his wife. When Harold arrives after seven years' impressed labour on Joe Turner's chain gang, he is a free man – in body. But the scars of his enslavement and a sense of inescapable alienation oppress his spirit still, and the seemingly hospitable rooming house seethes with tension and distrust in the presence of this tormented stranger. Loomis is looking for the wife he left behind, believing that she can help him reclaim his old identity. But through his encounters with the other residents he begins to realize that what he really seeks is his rightful place in a new world — and it will take more than the skill of the local "People Finder" to discover it. It is an instalment in the author's series chronicling black life in each decade of the 20th century.

Joe Turner's Come and Gone premiered in 2005 by the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut. It opened on Broadway in 1988  at the Ethel Barrymore Theater and won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and has become a popular choice for college and community theatre productions.

Cast: 5 female, 6 male

What people say:

"As rich in religious feeling as in historical detail, Joe Turner is at once a teeming canvas of black America and a spiritual allegory with a Melville whammy … Joe Turner is flecked with hypnotic storytelling soliloquies as grittily redolent of itinerant America as those in The Iceman Cometh." — 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

"Has the haunting power of a ghost story … bold theatricality … electrifying." — The Washington Post

"August Wilson's best play." — Time Magazine

"Joe Turner's Come and Gone is one of the best American plays of the decade … he takes us through joy and disaster, hatred and love; he pulls few punches and in the end he has contributed not only to the stature of American playwrighting but to our understanding of our society. A rich, rewarding play, that rare work what entertains while it teaches." — The Providence Journal

"Joe Turner is a searing stage experience. August Wilson is a master of the drama. His devotion to the terrible realities of African Americans in the twentieth century is absolute, and is never neglected … In personal relations that are casual and pleasant but seem little more, under banter and humor, a quiet delight begins to rise and fall, with delicacy and wisdom." — Romulus Linney, American playwright and professor

About the Playwright:

August Wilson (1945-2005) was one of America's greatest playwrights. An American icon, he depicted the human condition like no other playwright of his time. His crowning achievement is The Pittsburgh Cycle, his series of ten plays depicting the comic and tragic aspects of the African-American experience in the twentieth century. All of them are set in Pittsburgh’s Hill District except for one, which is set in Chicago. The cycle is also known as his Century Cycle. Crafted over nearly 25 years, these works garnered August Wilson a myriad accolades, including eight New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards, a Tony Award and two Pulitzer Prizes.

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