You have some homework to do before reading this blog! August Wilson’s legendary speech The Ground on Which I Stand, delivered to the TCG conference in 1996, and the resulting DEBATE between Wilson and Robert Brustein, the former Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA. If you are not familiar with these, get ready. “For what?”, you ask. Well, you’ll just have to clink on the links! Then, let’s grab a drink sometime and talk about how little or how far we’ve come.Jonathan Norton first performed at T3 in Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone when he was a kid. Also, Larry O’Dwyer asked young Jonathan to write a play (his first) for T3’s teen summer program. This is important not because T3 lays any claim Jonathan’s immense talent. It just speaks to T3’s long history of nurturing artists. It’s so important to us that it is written into our mission statement. We can think of no better way to wrap up the first part of our Dead Playwright’s Society series.
Maybe add this line at the end of my intro. – When you’re done here’s some Extra credit!
By August Wilson
I would like to thank you for our recent
It was truly a pleasure
I truly appreciate
Dear Asshat ….
Our VERY public standing-room only debate the other night inspired me to write a new play titled “You Can Kiss The Pinkest Part of the Crack of My Natural Black Ass.” Never have I had such a fire lit under me, that I wrote an entire play in one sitting. Wanna read it? Here it goes.
YOU CAN KISS THE PINKEST PART OF THE CRACK OF MY NATURAL BLACK ASS
Not a Part of The Century Cycle ‘Cause This Shit Ain’t That Deep
By August Wilson
SCENE ONE: Lights up. A boardroom in Cambridge Massachusetts. ROBERT, the BOARD CHAIR, and THE CHORUS bemoan their fate. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
My friends. Fear not. We have lost the battle. But we will not lose the war.
But what shall we do? We’re hemorrhaging subscribers. Audiences are avoiding us like the PLAGUE! We can’t give tickets away.
Wait. As usual, I have a brilliant idea! I will clown August Wilson in public in a desperate attempt at free P.R.
There’s no such thing as bad publicity.
Everyone cheers. End of Scene.
SCENE TWO: Town Hall in NYC. Robert at the podium. He is onstage with AUGUST WILSON and their moderator, ANNA DEAVERE SMITH.
Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Plato’s Republic.
Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Denzel Washington.
Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Critical Thought.
Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Political Correctness.
Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Porgy and Bess.
Robert throws an imaginary football to the ground and does a victory dance.
August, your response to Asshat… uh…. I mean Robert.
August looks up to the heavens. A thunderclap. End of scene.
SCENE THREE: Back in the Boardroom. A celebration.
Oh praise be. We’re in all the major papers.
People might actually buy tickets now. Three cheers for our fearless leader.
Who loves ya, baby?
A cracking noise.
Did you feel that?
Another loud noise. The ground starts to shake with great violence.
The Gods are angry. What have we done?
The sound of a train racing under the ground. A big-ass train.
Oh Gods. We beseech thee!
Make it stop. Make it stop. The Choo-Choo. Choo-Choo. Somebody make it stop.
THE GROUND! THE GROUND! THE GROUND ON WHICH I STAND IS SHAKING!
The ground breaks open. Smoke fills the room. Then the front of a train comes up
through the hole in the ground.
Very Steven Spielberg.
The door of the train opens and out comes HARRIET TUBMAN. The Chorus takes a few steps back, disassociating themselves from Robert.
Come on, everybody. Let’s get his ass.
NAT TURNER, HUEY P. NEWTON, and MALCOLM X come out of the train. Harriet Tubman brandishes her rifle and holds the Board of Directors at gunpoint while the men folk whip Robert’s ass for old and new. Then they high five each other.
HUEY P. NEWTON
Say something else. Jive turkey.
Aight, we out.
The Ancestors get back in their train and leave. Deuces.
Stunned silence from The Chorus. They gather around Robert. Slowly, they walk to the hole and stare into the abyss. Someone pushes Robert into the hole. He screams. They cheer.
Friends. This is no time for celebration.
But he was an asshat!
But now what do we do? The souls of Black folks unleashed a great reckoning on our theater as punishment for Ro –
Don’t speak his name ‘less they return.
But what do we do?
Somebody call Lloyd Richards.
Cheers all around.
BLACKOUT. END OF PLAY
I thought your imperialistic ass would dig that Greek chorus shit. I’m right, aren’t I?
And guess what? This play is gonna win a Pulitzer, too. How’s that for the best mind of the 17th century? Oh you thought I was gonna let that slide? Like we used to say on the streets of Pittsburg. You got the right idea. But the wrong bitch. You tried it.
You can kiss the pinkest part of the crack of my … oh wait… I said that already.
p.s. I forgot. Keep James Baldwin’s name outta your mouth.