I thought people who worked for theaters knew something about theater. Or at least that they could use Wikipedia. Perhaps I am asking too much.
The City Theatre is currently running their production of August Wilson’s Fences, and Mrs. PF and I cannot wait to get a chance to go. I was perusing the theater’s website when I ran across their blurb on the play and its author. Which included this sentence:
Wilson died in 2005 in his hometown of Seattle.
I don’t wish to seem too demanding here, but considering that Fences is part of a ten-play magnum opus known as “The Pittsburgh Cycle,” that seems like a good starting place for a thumbnail biography of August Wilson, whose upbringing in the Hill District informed his entire body of work. No, he did not live his entire life in Pittsburgh, but his creative connection to it continued throughout his life and career – he founded the Kuntu Writers’ Workshop which is still active at Pitt today, he served on the Pitt Board of Trustees, and he is buried at Greenwood Cemetery.
Of all the 20th Century artists who should rightly be identified with Pittsburgh, August Wilson is up at the top of the list with Andy Warhol.
So I wrote a letter (of the electronic variety, I don’t know that anybody even opens real mail):
I was reading the information posted on your website about August Wilson’s Fences, and I came across this sentence: “Wilson died in 2005 in his hometown of Seattle.” I feel that it is important to clarify that while Wilson lived in Seattle for the last 10 years of his life, his hometown was Pittsburgh, PA. His incredible 10 play cycle is known as “The Pittsburgh Cycle” and all but 1 of the 10 plays is set in the neighborhood where he grew up, Pittsburgh’s Hill District. He educated himself in Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Library, he holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh, and he is buried in Pittsburgh. It seems a small thing, but Wilson’s life and heritage in Pittsburgh were vital parts of his creative identity, and the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning Fences could only exist in that setting, so I felt it was important to point out.
I hate to be That Person that writes letters for every little thing, but that seemed quite a significant mischaracterization to me. So fast-forward a couple days, and I get a nice e-mail from someone at the theater acknowledging Wilson’s Pittsburgh identity and stating that the information on the website would be changed accordingly.
I checked back today, eager to see what information about August Wilson’s background had been included in their synopsis – or even that they had noted the setting of Fences, which was left out of the original description of the play. And a change had indeed been made:
Wilson died in 2005 in Seattle where he spent the last ten years of his life.
Takes. The. Cake.
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