When I was in New York City this weekend, I lucked upon a preview of the revival of August Wilson's play, Fences. Oh my goodness - it was hands down one of the best plays I've seen. My sister's friend works for the producer, so we had incredible box seats, too.
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis starred in the Kenny Leon-directed play. Washington won a Best Actor Academy Award for his role in Training Day. Davis was nominated for her role in Doubt. When you see celebs in plays, you never know if they have the acting chops for it (*cough* Julia Roberts in Three Days of Rain), but let me tell you, these two have the chops and more. They were unbelievable.
Fences was written by Wilson in 1983, but the play is set in the 1950s. Troy Maxson (Washington) has been married to Rose (Davis) for 18 years. Troy's best friend and confidant is Jim Bono, who served time in jail with him and works with him as a trash collector presently. Troy has a son, Cory, with Rose and a son, Lyons, from a previous relationship. Gabriel is Troy's brother, who was wounded in the war and is now mentally handicapped. Because of his injury Troy has enough money to buy the "roof over their head," which is brought up throughout the play.
Troy is always looking to move up in the world. He eventually is promoted to a trash truck driver. He has a strained relationship with Cory because he dreams of playing college football, and his dad wants him to just learn a trade. Troy always claims that he was good enough to play major league baseball, but was discriminated against for being black.
Even though Troy appears on all levels to love Rose, he has an affair with a woman named Alberta, who is never seen by the audience. They end up having a daughter, Raynell. The twist occurs when Alberta dies during childbirth. One of the most powerful scenes in the play is when Troy tells Rose about his affair. I literally could see tears pop out of Davis's eyes.
The play officially opens today and is running for 13 weeks through July 11 in the Cort Theater. Tickets range from $61.50 to $131. 50. If you're in NYC, go see this play before it's too late!