Themes and Meanings
“Wine time” is a summer evening in a black or mostly black neighborhood of a city. It begins approximately at the end of suppertime, when residents come out of their homes into the cooler but still-hot air, and lasts until bedtime, which may be far into the night. It is named for the large amount of cheap wine that is consumed by the people on the sidewalks and stoops that line the streets. In the context of this play, “wine time” suggests a social ritual, marked by conviviality, sexuality, intoxication, and relaxation, among the neighbors, young and old. At the same time, it suggests a lapse in social constraints, a fluidity of action, enhanced desire, and lowered inhibitions, with revelations of felt truths that are hidden during the day. It is a time-out, a break from the pressures of the day. There is a weariness to be rested; there is also a release and an excitement. Anything can suddenly happen, good or bad. Life is still hopeful and troublesome and must be lived, hour by hour; people fall into patterns, repeating their feelings, their talk, and their nightly acts. “Wine time” also suggests a time of youth, with its accompanying inexperience, ignorance, and uncertainty, but also with its potential for discovery, decision, and growth—or for mistake and a slip into oblivion. The term also suggests romance, actual or imaginary or something in between.
These motifs are established, or hinted at, in the poetic, prose prologue to the play....
(The entire section is 529 words.)