Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Fences", a great play, a well chosen cast, and good director make for a very satisfying night of theater

Ken Love, who is pictured in the photo above, was a good choice for Troy, the angry black man protagonist. August Wilson, the playwright, seems to know this character inside and out, who appears to be generational in that his father was an even angrier black man, and his own son sounds as though he is going to repeat the pattern of being abused by Troy followed by bitterness and rejection of the ways of his father. I was touched by the character of the mentally ill brother of Troy who even keeps worrying about whether his brother is mad at him. His wife, Rose, is the soul of patience but even she can't take his final outrage after her years of loyalty to him, involvement with another woman who gets pregnant and dies in childbirth, with Troy bringing the baby home for his wife to raise.
I am not surprised that she does it but not without vowing to make him pay.
David Hemphill, the artistic director of the company, does a masterly job of directing the actors toward believable and convincing performances. The play was well served by a strong cast who never forgot a line and never fell short in expressing the passionate emotions in the eloquent speeches August Wilson is famous for writing, that never lose the convincing common touch but manage to transform ordinary language into sheer poetical theater magic.
Even a bit part as played by a child as the baby some years later gave you more subtlety than it would be reasonable to expect. This means the director was going for nothing short of perfection in mounting this famous play James Earl Jones starred in as Troy on Broadway with Denzel Washington playing Troy years later. I would give him kudos for his direction and would tell the theater community not to miss this one if they can possibly help it.
Thanks to Joyce Gittoes and David Hemphill, my friend Nola and I were able to see the show on opening night, although you would not have thought it was an opening night, the cast was so well prepared to leap into the harness and sprint forward without one stumble!
What a wonderful time we had, meeting Joyce, and talking to her son who drove her there, after the show. In fact, Nola and I got to talking so much we missed the last bus and had to walk a mile home, and we didn't get there until 12 p.m. as we sat talking at the bus stop for an hour waiting in vain for one to show up! I did not have the money with me it would have cost to ride the fast transit which was still going. But Nola and I have walked that distance any number of times before, so I was not hesitant about setting off walking with her. If I had been alone probably not. But the effort was well worth it, we so enjoyed the show.

No comments:


Blog Archive