For an emerging writer to make such a huge mark on a developing theatre movement and have his plays steadily staged on Broadway-within less than a decade of moving to the New York City-was unprecedented. British arts critic Michael Billington observed that Wilson often explored "the conflict between the traditional past and the insidious present, between surrogate families and a life of lonely isolation." He leant an ear and gave a voice to characters living on the margins of society when very few other writers were willing to do so, and he did so without judging the people about whom he wrotE. Wilson, an incredibly prolific and widely celebrated playwright, passed away on March 24, 2011 from complications of pneumonia at the age of 73. He left behind an impressive body of work and a lasting impact on the American theatre.
Wilson's play, Talley's Folly is playing through May 5 at the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold & Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre.