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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Fences” opening tonight at ATC

    Courtesy Tim Fuller
    David Alan Anderson, Kim Staunton, Terry Bellamy, James T. Alfred, and Marcus Naylor in Arizona Theatre Company’s Fences. Photo Courtesy of Tim Fuller.

    Maybe you’re not a theater person. You think the idea of sitting for longer than 15 minutes sounds traumatizing and are not interested unless there’s car crashes and superheroes. That’s fair, but here’s why you should see “Fences” at Arizona Theatre Company, which opens tonight.

    Written by August Wilson in 1983, “Fences” is a classic American play that transpires in the discordant 1950s. “Fences” is both riveting and riotous as it reaches into the depths of America’s dark and racist roots. Its core themes explore the African American experience through the lens of main character Troy Maxson. Troy is a 53-year-old patriarch whose dreams of professional baseball were cut short by the shears of racism. Troy’s story is one that bleeds into our current generation with its tragic evolution of police brutality toward black lives.

    Wilson uses “Fences” to propel a multifaceted storyline of a family both dysfunctional and fragmented. The play opens with Troy and his friend Jim Bono who, over drinking and games, accuses Troy of infidelity toward his wife Rose. Troy’s son, Cory, then enters having just been recruited by a college football team. Through what could be jealousy, protection or maybe even fear, Troy refuses to allow Cory his position on the team. By his actions, Troy halts Cory’s dreams in a similar fashion to society’s deprecation of his own.

    On top of all this, Wilson weaves the play with an avid understanding of language and blues methods. Wilson believed that poetry played a key role in his works. The play is lyrically succinct, using musicality through language in an unmatchable voice. It is obvious at every turn that Wilson wrote to the rhythm of perseverance and love.

    The ATC’s production includes an artistic team worth noting.

    “Director Lou Bellamy is one of America’s greatest interpreters of the Wilson world; keenly attuned to his themes, deeply connected to the rhythm of his dialogue, championing the universal truths in his words,” artistic director David Ira Goldstein said. “Lou returns with him actors and designers who have created magic on our stages before.”

    If that hasn’t convinced you, consider that going to see this play at the theater is far more romantic and rewarding than Netflix and Chill.

    Performances begin at the Temple of Music and Art at 333 S. Scott Ave. on Jan. 22 and run through Feb. 6. Tickets for “Fences” are $23 to $63 and can be purchased at, by calling (520) 622-2823 or at the Temple of Music and Art Box Office.

    Follow Cera Naccarato on Twitter

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