Friday, May 7, 2010

Faces and Places: FENCES on Broadway

 "FENCES" is currently at the Cort Theatre starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.

These thespians brought the set alive, taking the audience immediately to Pittsburgh, 1957 in the front yard of main characters Troy Maxson and his wife, Rose. Troy, a strong willed garbage hauler, brings home the bacon and his wife fries it up in a pan, all the while sporting her signature headscarf, skirt and apron. But don't let the clothes fool you. Viola's Rose is a smart, sexy and spiritual woman who believes in family first. But when a bitter and resentful Troy commits a cardinal sin, Rose's strength and loyalty is put to the ultimate test proving that "FENCES", although featuring megawatt stars who have each been recently nominated for Tony Awards, is not about the stars. It is about the story.

The late great August Wilson was a master at creating characters and situations that are real and relateable to anyone who has experienced a dream die. Through Mr. Wilson's snappy dialogue, knowledge of human nature, and attention to detail, we feel each character's challenges. I've been lucky enough to see many of Mr. Wilson's plays in the past: "Gem of the Ocean", "The Piano Lesson", "Radio Gulf", "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" and this past fall, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone". All were powerful. All were classics. But for me, "Fences" was by far the best. It kept my attention and managed to keep my teenage daughter's attention, too, which is no easy feat. Because of this I can seriously say it will make a great night on the town with the family. So catch it while you can (the play runs though July 11) and take your mom, your auntie or your sister. But definitely take your man!

Denzel Washington's portrayal of a man who has lost his light can serve as a cautionary tale for those who choose to hold on to life's past pain and disappointments instead of embracing faith in the future. Denzel is gritty, angry and unshaven here. The character Troy is a broken man, a tired man. It was interesting to watch The Denzel Washington play it so gritty, so close to the bone, especially since we are so used to seeing him in the handsome leading man role. The last time I saw him on Broadway he was clean cut, fit and fine as ever in Julius Ceasar. He is a far cry from that here, even sporting a small gut, but it's okay.  He's still the great actor Denzel Washington who does it all, stage and screen, and nobody does it better!


Post performance, the players greeted fans!

(Denzel Washington plays Troy Maxson)

(Mykelti Williamson plays Gabriel)

(Russel Hornsby plays Lyons)

(Steven McKInley Henderson plays Jim BONO)

All photos by Kerika Fields

1 comment:

Kerika said...
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