In recognition of the Martin Luther King holiday, the Department of Theatre will present actor Wali Jamal in August Wilson's How I Learned What I Learned on January 17 and 18. The one-man show, created by August Wilson and Todd Kreidler, chronicles Wilson’s life as a Black artist in the Hill District in Pittsburgh, recounting his life from his childhood to the completion of The American Century Cycle of award-winning plays. Wilson, himself, performed the premiere, presented by Seattle Repertory Theatre in 2003.
August Wilson (1945-2005) is one of the most important playwrights of his generation, having won two Pulitzer Prizes, a Tony Award, and seven New York Drama Critics Circle Awards. The 10 plays in The American Century Cycle explore the heritage and experience of the descendants of Africans in North America, decade by decade, over the course of the 20th century.
Wali Jamal is a Pittsburgh native, performer, and playwright and the only actor to have performed in all 10 of Wilson’s American Century Cycle plays and How I Learned What I Learned. He was recently named the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “2018 Performer of the Year.”
After the performance on Thursday, January 17, Dr. Lynne Conner, chair of the Department of Theatre, will host “August Wilson’s Pittsburgh: A Post-show Conversation with Wali Jamal.” A protégé of Wilson, Jamal is actively involved in productions that interpret Pittsburgh’s rich African American culture and history. Conner, also a Pittsburgh native, will share insights into Wilson’s work from her book, Pittsburgh In Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater (University of Pittsburgh Press).