Playwright: August Wilson

His poetic plays about African-American life offer plainspoken truths that transcend race

It's hard for an actor to go wrong if he's true to the words August Wilson has written. When I played Troy Maxson in Fences on Broadway in 1987, the speeches simply guided themselves, they're so well constructed. August was a poet before he became a playwright, and poetry is still part of the language his characters speak. You don't always hear people talk like that in real life, but you wish you could.

Like Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, August didn't just write a great play, he has written volumes of good, better and best plays. Fences was...

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