Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

20 September 2006

More Reading: Lots of Crying

Can we talk about crying? I read August Wilson's Fences and Emily Mann's Greensboro (A Requiem) today, and though I didn't cry at Greensboro, I couldn't stop crying all the way through the last scene of Fences. I have actually never read any of the plays in Wilson's ten-play cycle, though I've seen four of them. I've avoided buying the plays because no one is selling them yet as a group. But we're teaching Fences in the Intro class and I had to read it before next week. It's sort of clumsily written: lots of exposition in weird places and a sub-plot about garbage collecting that is a bit all over the place, but the characters are lovingly and beautifully written and Wilson's father-son relationship struggle shines much better here than in his earlier play Jitney. In a lot of ways Fences seems like a continuation of Jitney, a more fleshed-out, mature version of that play, and while I found some of the writing a little clumsy, I cannot deny the emotional effect the play had on me. (We all know I'm a sucker for stories about father-son conflicts.)