GoKash Productions opened with August Wilson’s 1987 Pulitzer Prize winning FENCES Tuesday night at Plays and Players Theatre. Set in a 1957 urban home in Pittsburgh, PA, FENCES is a compelling drama about an African American patriarchal family, the Maxson’s (a play on “Mason-Dixon line”) struggling for identity and prosperity in a changing world, where race is still the issue, but a cohesive family unit is even more relevant. A seasoned actor himself, director Damien Wallace honored this epic play, with a superb cast of actors, richly drawn by Wilson for us to embrace, identify and lament with.
We first meet our antihero, Troy, skillfully played by producer Kash Goins, as he grumbles with long-time buddy Bono (Andre Jones) at the end of another hard work week hauling garbage. We soon discover the chip on Troy’s shoulder over his presumed denial of a promotion because of his skin color. August Wilson’s own difficulty with the 1960’s establishment echoes quite loudly from his hero’s bellows, but we like Troy, and all he stands for: hard work, family, and achievement. The problem is, as Wilson so expertly unravels, we discover our hero’s not as noble as we think, and his motives aren’t so pure. As mythic as Jason searching for his Golden Fleece, Troy Maxon fights his demons in his own attempt at the American dream. Unfortunately the sins of the father run deep in Troy’s veins, and those dysfunctional tentacles extend out to infect those closest to him, his obedient son who longs to please him, and his devoted wife.
If you are looking to get to know August Wilson’s plays, FENCES is a must see, this production left you breathless and on your feet with applause. A juicy drama with stellar performances, including Roderick Slocum as the disturbed war vet; Sloccum’s performance resonates that of Shakespeare’s clowns, the most prophetic, wise character in the story, played with humor and eerie foreboding. Tiffany Bacon’s touching portrayal of the forgiving wife was deeply emotional and entirely authentic. We saw her frustration, her fragility, and her inner strength. Jason Stewart as the resentful son was entirely strong yet sympathetic, we want so badly for him to achieve his dreams. Supporting cast Andre Jones, Brett Roman Williams and the adorable Aria Jones rounded out this outstanding production.
Some of the voices were a little weak, and Wilson’s expository style of writing sometimes leaves the audience looking for more action and less talking, nevertheless, the writing is powerful, the acting compelling, and the direction able and heartfelt. Don’t miss this juicy drama, it’s sure to entice you to see more of Wilson’s masterful works.
by August Wilson
Directed by Damien Wallace
July 23 – August 4, 2013
Plays and Players Theatre
1714 Delancey St
Philadelphia, PA 19103