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What the Wine-Sellers Buy

What the Wine-Sellers Buy
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Ron Milner
Publisher: Samuel French (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 96
Pub. Date: 1974
ISBN-10: 0573618100
ISBN-13: 9780573618109
Cast Size: 4 female, 11 male

About the Play:

What the Wine-Sellers Buy is a full-length drama by Ron Milner. It is a coming-of-age tale set on Detroit streets in the 1950s, and deals with a young Black man choosing between good and evil while simultaneously addressing the issue of Black male responsibility. A contemporary tale in 1974, What the Wine-Sellers Buy now seems both prophetic and still powerfully relevant.

What the Wine-Sellers Buy is about a poor teenager and a pimp who lives next door. Steve Carlton is a carefree high school student, not good enough to become the professional basketball player he'd like to be, who wrestles with the other possibilities in his life. Faced with crippling poverty, a sick mother, and diminishing opportunities, Steve turns to his sinister neighbour Rico, who seduces Steve into the world of flashy clothes, drugs, crime, and prostitution. Steve's girl Mae, a cheerleader, dearly loves him. Rico means to apprentice Steve to his trade by having him peddle Mae in the streets. Steve sends her into the cellar with a middle aged lecher, but repents at the last moment and calls her back into his arms. What the Wine-Sellers Buy looks at the conflict between the lure of the streets and a mother's teachings.

What the Wine-Sellers Buy played in an experimental series at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 1973, a year before it became the first play by an African American to be produced by Joseph Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival at Lincoln Center.

Cast: 4 female, 11 male

What people say:

"A play worthy of attention, done with rapidly moving fluid staging." — New York Times

About the Playwright:

Ron Milner (1938-2004) was an American playwright, writer, editor, critic, and director who was known affectionately as the "people's playwright" for his ongoing commitment to using Black theatre for the advancement of Black people. Born and raised in Detroit, he graduated from high school, but credited much of his education and inspiration to become a writer to books he had read on his own, including the novels of Mark Twain. In his career, he received the John Hay Whitney and Rockefeller fellowships and taught creative writing at the University of Southern California, Wayne State University and Michigan State University.