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FENCES OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: January 10, 2014
Synopsis: Fences is one of the most beloved plays in August Wilson’s soaring ten-play cycle, chronicling the African-American experience of the 20th century. This Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning drama tells the gripping story of a father and son and the hopes and dreams which they desperately cling to in rapidly changing mid-century America. Under the inspired direction of Phylicia Rashad (Gem of the Ocean), Fences is August Wilson at his best: challenging the American dream through a poetic, powerful, and deeply personal story. Fences is a transfixing American classic—not to be missed!
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"'Here is a man that you can open yourself up to and be filled to bursting,' Rose Maxson says in August Wilson’s Fences recalling her reaction to meeting her future husband, Troy. 'Here is a man that can fill all them empty spaces' in her heart. Indeed, Troy is a physical and emotional titan. There’s no empty space he can’t fill, except for the one inside his own soul."
"It is quite probable that any one of the plays by the late dramatic chronicler of the African-American experience in the 20th century August Wilson will seem even better than the last time you saw it. That means that no matter if you have already seen the 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winner Fences either during its original Broadway run or during its last Broadway revival in 2010, the production now at the McCarter Theatre Center under the direction of Phylicia Rashad, reaffirms it as one of Wilson's best. It has also proven to be his most popular and successful. It is the second (it followed Ma Rainey's Black Bottom ) in the cycle of 10 plays with each dramatizing an episode during every decade. "
"THERE’S a scene in McCarter Theatre’s current revival of August Wilson’s Fences in which the actress who goes by the name of “Portia” has some of the most powerful moments I’ve ever seen on stage.
Her character, Rose, has learned that her husband is cheating on her, and that there’s a major consequence to his affair. The hurt and sense of betrayal in Rose is clear; tears well in her eyes, her voice quivers and her body becomes limp. She seems barely able to go on, but she goes on because she has to."
"There’s a steely gleam in Esau Pritchett’s eyes as he tells harrowing childhood stories. He keeps his cool, but there’s a chilling sense of torture as his voice rises and tenses but never reaches a full outcry.
As Troy Maxson in Fences at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, Pritchett simmers, stretching to endure, until he has lost all he has cared about – and only then do we see the full extent of his rage and his pain."
"Audiences familiar with August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Fences may be accustomed to seeing shiny names like James Earl Jones or Denzel Washington (both of whom won Tony Awards for their starring turns in the play's two Broadway productions) printed in bold lettering above the title. Yet, under the delicate directorial hand of Tony-winning actress and ‘'Cosby Show'' veteran Phylicia Rashad, Wilson's masterpiece shines just as bright without a high-octane celebrity name in the Long Wharf/McCarter Theatre coproduction, now on the McCarter stage in Princeton, New Jersey."
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