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Fences

Fences
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Biz Staff Pick!
Author: August Wilson
Publisher: Samuel French (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 96
Pub. Date: 1986
ISBN-10: 0573619050
ISBN-13: 9780573619052
Cast Size: 2 female, 5 male

About the Play:

Fences was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

Fences has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues, Male Monologues, Female/Male Scenes, and Male/Male Scenes.

Fences is a full-length drama by August Wilson. Troy Maxson, a former baseball player in the Negro Leagues now reduced to collecting trash, must deal with his headstrong football-player son and his wife, who reevaluates their marriage when Troy comes home with the baby he fathered with another woman. From legendary playwright August Wilson comes the modern classic that won him critical acclaim, including the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize. Especially recommended for school and contest use.

Fences is is the story of Troy Maxson, fathers and sons, dreams and disappointments, and challenging the realities of the American Dream. It's the late 1950s and 53-year-old Troy Maxson has stepped up to the plate too many times in his life only to go down swinging. The former Negro League homerun king may have thrived, but was too old when the major leagues finally admitted black players. He was fenced in by the era into which he was born and instead hit the ceiling of racial prejudice. He appears to have got his life on track after a shaky start, including a childhood in which he fought with his violent father and a spell in the penitentiary for theft. Now he seems happily married to a gem of a woman, Rose and holds down a job as a sanitation worker. But Troy is resentful of a world that denied him the opportunities for the national success he feels he deserves. Troy's son Cory, an emerging high school football star has the chance of a college education, sees the world through very different eyes than his father, but paralyzed by his bitterness, Troy refuses to support his son's ambitions. Meanwhile, Troy's wife Rose confronts him over a child he has fathered with another woman, his son Lyons strives for his father's love and respect, and his brother Gabriel, a mentally-disabled war veteran, offers Troy a different perspective of the world. Troy must come to terms with his past disappointments or risk tearing his family apart. Part of August Wilson's wonderful, ten-play "Pittsburgh Cycle", this approachable, powerful Pulitzer prizewinner is like an African-American counterpoint to Miller's Death of a Salesman.

Fences premiered in 1985 at the Yale Repertory Theatre. It opened on Broadway in 1987 at the 46th Street Theatre and won numerous awards for best play of the year in 1987, including the Tony Award, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. The part of Troy Maxson, "one of the great characters in American drama" (New York Post), was played on its first outing by James Earl Jones (Broadway), and the part was subsequently taken by Laurence Fishburne (Pasadena Playhouse), Denzel Washington (Broadway and film), and Lenny Henry (West End). It's still enormously popular, won Best Revival on Broadway in 2010, and has become a staple of regional repertory houses, community theatres, high schools, middle schools, and colleges.

Cast: 2 female, 5 male

What people say:

"A blockbuster and a major American play." — New York Daily News

"What makes Fences so engrossing, so embracing, so simply powerful, is Wilson's startling ability to tell a story, reveal feeling, paint emotion." — New York Post

"One of the great characters in American drama. One of the richest experiences I have ever had in the theatre. I wasn't just moved. I was transfixed." — New York Post

"If audiences of all ages and colors have responded passionately to Fences, it is not because Wilson made the slightest concession to universality. Whatever is universal in Fences arises from his fierce commitment to particularity, the particularity of being a black garbageman, the son of a sharecropper, in the Hill section of Pittsburgh in the year 1957. Most audaciously of all, August Wilson has made America see Troy Maxson, in all his precise and explicit blackness, as one of our fathers." — Samuel G. Freedman

About the Playwright:

August Wilson (1945-2005) was one of America's greatest playwrights. An American icon, he depicted the human condition like no other playwright of his time. His crowning achievement is The Pittsburgh Cycle, his series of ten plays depicting the comic and tragic aspects of the African-American experience in the twentieth century. All of them are set in Pittsburgh's Hill District except for one, which is set in Chicago. The cycle is also known as his Century Cycle. Crafted over nearly 25 years, these works garnered August Wilson a myriad accolades, including eight New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards, a Tony Award and two Pulitzer Prizes.

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