Joe Turner’s Come and Gone
Joe Turner’s Come and Gone – Theater Review
The year is 1911, 49 years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and 97 years before Barack Obama was elected President. One of the ways the South coped with the catastrophic effects of freed slaves from the Reconstruction period on was through men like Joe Turner — and there were many men like Joe Turner — who rounded up blacks and railroaded them into work camps for seven years.
Pick of the Week!
August Wilson is one of, perhaps, the most ambitious American playwrights there is. He has decided that he is going to document the black experience in America every decade, and this is set in 1911. It’s set as, I think all of his plays are, in Pittsburgh. As far as I’m concerned, this is probably one of my favorite August Wilson’s. I think it’s the most accessible. It’s a story of a time that America was changing greatly. It’s before, obviously, the war, but after the Civil War and after Reconstruction. It focuses on Seth, who is played wonderfully by Ernie Hessen, and his wife, who both run a boarding house. The idea is the people who wander through, including a mysterious boarder with a daughter. All of their stories intertwine, and I don’t know how accurate it is, but it is certainly compelling. Basically, it’s a little metaphorical about learning to sing your song. I found it quite compelling. Four stars.