CAST OF "FENCES" PHOTO BY T. CHARLES ERICKSON
Traditionally fences are built to keep something inside or to prevent
someone outside from getting inside its boundaries. For Rose Maxson,
it's the hope that her family will be kept safe and protected and for
her husband Troy of eighteen years, the fence is
to ward off the specter of death.
To see an astonishing production of August Wilson's involving family
drama "Fences," take your carpenter's tool box and head for Long Wharf
Theatre in New Haven by Sunday, December 22. "Fences" is part of an
amazing ten part cycle, the Century Cycle, with one
play for every decade of the 20th century, about African-Americans
living in August Wilson's hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
"Fences" is set in the 1950's.
Esau Pritchett is magnificently flawed as Troy, a man whose ancestors
were slaves and sharecroppers, who literally left his humble beginnings
in the South, to walk North for a better life. A long stint in prison
where he learns to hone his talent for baseball
and his meeting with a strong and dedicated woman Rose were both
defining moments in his life.
Rose, beautifully captured by the actress Portia, knows what it means to
"stand by your man." She is loyal and the sturdy bridge between Troy
and the world. As Troy, the everyman,who works as a garbage man
providing for his family, he holds his little universe
together, with the knowledge that Rose is standing beside him. Whether
he is loaning his son Lyons (Jared McNeill) ten dollars, helping his
disabled brother Gabriel (G.Alverez Reid) live on his own or share a
bottle of bourbon with his best friend Bono (Phil
McGlaston), Rose is ready to support him.
When Troy actively interferes with their son Cory's (Chris Myers) dreams
of being a football star, Rose protests. Later when she learns of
Troy's betrayal of infidelity, she rebels. Yet she relents and asserts
her maternal instincts and takes his illegitimate
child, an adorable Taylor Dior, into their home. Phylicia Rashad
directs a sterling cast in an awesome production that defines theater at
its best. Bravo!
For tickets ($40-75), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New
Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org. Performances are
Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m.,
Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
and Sunday at 2 p.m. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for the theater's Toys
for Tots drive for needy children, organized by the Marines, until
Sunday, December 22.
Come meet Troy Maxson, the consummate story teller, who lives in the
past and what could have been, and tragically allows that past to
dictate his son Cory's future.