King Hedley II available in Paperback
“Wilson’s melody here is the mournful sound of what might have been, a blues-tinged tale about a driven, almost demonic man. He’s a petty thief named King who will stop at nothing for a better life. . . . King Hedley is a big play, filled with big emotions and big speeches. These aria-like monologues are rich in humor, heartbreak and the astonishing details that go into creating real people. With his latest arrival on Broadway, Wilson only has the first and last decades of the twentieth century to chronicle—it’s been quite a journey. King Hedley will only add to that towering achievement.”—Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press
“What makes Wilson America’s greatest living playwright—aside from his gift for dialogue, which blends searing poetry with uncompromising realism—is the bracing humanism with which he provides insight into the struggles and aspirations of all individuals.”—Elysa Gardner, USA Today
King Hedley II is the eighth work in playwright August Wilson’s 10-play cycle chronicling the history of the African American experience in each decade of the twentieth century. It’s set in 1985 and tells the story of an ex-con in post-Reagan Pittsburgh trying to rebuild his life. Many critics have hailed the work as a haunting and challenging tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.
August Wilson is the most influential and successful African American playwright writing today. He is the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Fences , The Piano Lesson , Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom , Joe Turner’s Come and Gone , Seven Guitars , Two Trains Running and Jitney. His plays have been produced all over the world, as well as on Broadway.
|Publisher:||Theatre Communications Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.30(d)|
About the Author
August Wilson is the most influential and successful African American playwright writing today. He is the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Fences, The Piano Lesson, King Hedley II, Ma Rainy's Black Bottom, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Seven Guitars, Two Trains Running, Jitney and Radio Golf. His plays have been produced all over the world.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
After I read Seven Guitars, I could not wait to read King Hedley II, the sequel to the devastating play, which revealed Hedley as the killer. The events in this drama take place thirty-seven years (1985) after the events in the previous play (1948). This lapse of time sets the period in which Hedley's son, King Hedley the Second, has grown into a man and thus provides us with his history. King has been out of prison for four years he went to prison for killing a man for scarring his face. The first thing I noticed was that King felt the same way Floyd did: blocked (one can assume that August Wilson is trying to say that even all this time later black men are still being treated the same way)--his wife, Tonya, tells him she is deciding to have an abortion (this is because her daughter from a teenage pregnancy made the same mistakes she did and had a teenage pregnancy herself which is making her unsure how good a mother she will be) which makes King feel like he has no opinion, even in the life of his own child. His mother is living with him (she wants to make up for the period in his rearing when she was not there because she was singing with a jazz band and left him to be reared by her aunt, the landlady Louise). A mentioned-but-not-seen-onstage character from the previous play named Elmore makes an appearance to start back up his on-again off-again relationship with Ruby. He has also spent five years in prison for killing Leroy, a rival in the fight for Ruby's love and King's real father. Elmore is also a hustler: he gives King's friend, Mister, a gun that does not work all that well and in the process scams Mister out of all the money that he has on him at the moment. (Mister later gives this gun to Ruby, who won't use it until the final moments of the play.) Coming back also is Canewell, now called Stool Pigeon because Ruby named him this after he told the police Hedley killed Floyd Barton. King makes a living selling black market refrigerators. He hopes to one day sell enough and make enough money to open his own video store. In the first act, Aunt Ester dies after almost four hundred years of existence, eventually taking her cat with her also. It will need blood to revive it but for the mean time it has a grave in front of King's house that is encompassed by wire, set up by Stool Pigeon and Ruby advises Tonya. In the second act, King's true parentage is revealed to him by Leroy over Ruby's protests. Him and Leroy get into a fight, which scares Ruby into committing an explosive act which will leave one person dead, providing the dead cat with the blood it needs, and one alive. Once again the simplicity but at the same time the heaviness of the language stuns and delights me. Thank you August Wilson for giving us a DAMN good--and most of all brilliant--piece of drama.