A very interesting and thought provoking play, “Fences” is now on stage at the Ridgefield Theater Barn in Ridgefield Ct. This Pulitizer, Drama Desk and Tony Award winning play by August Wilson ran on Broadway back in 1987-1988. Among its awards was the Tony Award for Best Play, and Best Actor (James Earl Jones). It will run at the Theater Barn through February 24th.
The drama follows an African American family and is set in the late 1950s. We meet Troy Maxon (Foster Evans Reese), a hard working man of little education who works as a garbage man. His life is filled with regret about the fact his talents as a baseball player were never acknowledged due to the racial barrier in major league baseball. He lives a respectable life with his own little home he shares with his wife Rose (Tracey McAllister) and his son Cory (Shelby Davis). Conflicts arise early in the play as Troy attempts to break the color barrier to become the first African American garbage truck driver for his firm. Though Troy feels he will be fired for complaining to the union, he instead is promoted. This promotion however comes at a price as he no longer works with his best friend Bono(Kevin Knight) and we see eventually they will drift apart.
Other important characters are Gabe (Dan Fedrick) who plays Troy’s brother who suffered a brain injury in the War and is looked after by Troy, even though Gabe elected to move out of the house. Troy has two sons, Lyons (Steffon Sampson) who Troy is in conflict with as he sees Lyons as a person with no direction who comes around just to borrow money. His other son Cory (Shelby Davis) is also in struggles with Troy as he wants to elevate himself in life through sport, but Troy attempts to keep him down and steer him into a career of manual labor.
Rose, the loving wife and mother does her best to keep the peace. Through the play she wants an ideal yet simple life and for Troy to finish the white picket fence that surrounds the house. It takes the entire play for the fence to be finished. The fence for Rose represents keeping together her family and her dreams. For Troy it represents a barrier, and for Cory the fence is a way for his father to fence his ambitions to play sports and go on the college. We see too the themes of death seep into the story and for Troy the fence is a way for keeping the grim reaper away.
The sold out theater was riveted to the actors on stage during the two hour plus play. Though all the actors gave solid performances (including Dania Fedrick, who appears late in Act Two), the night belongs to Foster Evans Reese who commands the stage with his powerful and moving interpretation of Troy.
Due to adult themes and language, the play is best suited for mature audiences.
The Ridgefield Theater Barn is a real local treasure. Doors open on hour before the show and you sit cabaret style at tables. Guests bring their own food and drink to enjoy prior to the show. The Barn now has a bar in the lobby with snacks, a featured cocktail, wine and beer.
Tickets are $35 and $28 for Students, veterans and seniors)
Ridgefield Theater Barn
37 Halpin Lane Ridgefield Ct http://ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org/
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