Posting Date: March 30, 2010
Kennesaw State presents August Wilson’s “Fences”
Performance interweaves poetry, humor and unforgettable characters
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The cast and crew of "Fences" with Kenny Leon (top, middle), director of the upcoming Broadway production of "Fences"
KENNESAW, Ga.—The KSU Department of Theatre and Performance Studies presents August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Fences” at the Howard Logan Stillwell Theater April 13-18. Directed by Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies Karen Robinson, the play focuses on a family living in Pittsburgh during the early days of the civil rights movement.
In the play, Troy Maxson, husband to Rose, father to Cory and provider for his family, struggles to reconcile his present identity as a garbage collector with his past potential as a negro-league baseball player before Jackie Robinson broke the major league color line. When a recruiter offers Cory a scholarship to play college football, Troy rejects the opportunity as an impractical dream, and the ensuing father-son conflict tears the family apart. “Fences” is a play about relationships: father-son, mother-son and husband-wife.
Karen Robinson describes Troy as “a deeply conflicted character who is committed to fulfilling his responsibilities as father and provider for his family, yet he falls into a situation where he betrays his wife. Thanks to Wilson's writing, audiences can’t help but feel empathy even though he has acted wrongly toward his wife.”
“Fences” interweaves poetry, humor and unforgettable characters to create a drama that has become a highlight of American theatre. “Fences” is one of the most beloved plays in Wilson’s 10-play cycle chronicling African American life in the 20th century. Each play in this cycle represents a particular decade. “Fences” takes place during the 1950s and represents family struggles, particularly an African American father trying to give his son a better life. As Robinson explains, “Wilson captures this struggle with detail, clarity and great insight. The characters are really richly developed, fully realized human beings.”
August Wilson passed away prematurely of cancer at age 60 but not without seeing his 10-play cycle materialized. Actor James Earl Jones played Troy Maxson in the 1980s Broadway production. The premiere of KSU’s production coincides with Atlanta director Kenny Leon’s Broadway premiere of “Fences” starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. The entire cast of the KSU play had the opportunity to meet Leon in person for additional insight into the play.
Robinson says, “August Wilson's objective was to commemorate the African American experience and to illuminate African American culture for all audiences; in doing so he has bequeathed an invaluable gift to American theatre."
Tickets are $18 for general admission and $12 for KSU students. Performance times are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. For more information, contact the KSU box office at 770-423-6650.
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A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of more than 21,000 from 142 countries. The third-largest university in Georgia, Kennesaw State offers more than 65 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including new doctorates in education and business.
The KSU College of the Arts is one of only four Georgia institutions to have achieved full national accreditation for all of its arts programs.