Check out a clip of Tony and Oscar winners Viola Davis and Denzel Washington in the August Wilson Monologues Competition documentary Giving Voice, streaming on Netflix December 11. The pair talk about the impact of Wilson’s plays on young performers and themselves.
“August was that one writer who saw me, and when I say me, I do mean me, but I also mean people like me,” says Davis. “For me, he’s a muse.” The star is known for her work in Wilson’s plays and stage-to-screen adaptations, having won Tonys for her performances in King Hedley II and Fences (and an Oscar for the movie adaptation), in addition the upcoming Netflix treatment of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, out December 18.
Giving Voice follows several teenage finalists for the 2018 August Wilson Monologues Competition. Since 2007, thousands of students from 12 cities across the United States have performed the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner’s work for a shot to perform on Broadway, mentored by the competition's co-founders Kenny Leon and Todd Kreidler as well as hundreds of educators.
“That’s the most important thing, just exposing [young people] to something they haven’t seen before,” says Washington, another one of Wilson’s frequent interpreters who won a Tony for Fences opposite Davis. “They’re good stories, great plays, and young, old alike love them when they see them and they feel familiar, especially to African-Americans.”
The movie also features footage of the late playwright, along with Wilson’s widow Constanza Romero and others, as they share the impact that Wilson’s artistry has had on their careers and their hopes for the young people carrying it forward. In addition, Giving Voice features the new song “Never Break” co-written by EGOT winner John Legend (who won a Tony as a producer of Wilson’s Jitney) with Nasri Atweh, Benjamin Hudson McIldowie, and Greg Wells.
READ: 2020 August Wilson Monologue Competition Finalists Share Their Insights, Hopes, and Dreams
Directed by James D. Stern and Fernando Villena, the documentary screened at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Audience Choice Award. Giving Voice is an Endgame Entertainment and Pilgrim Media Group Production in association with Endeavor Content, Impact Partners, Get Lifted Film Co, and JuVee Productions.
Check out the trailer below.