PCPA to Close 53rd Season with August Wilson's FENCES

PCPA to Close 53rd Season with August Wilson's FENCES

Closing PCPA's 53rd season is Fences, August Wilson's gripping Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning masterpiece that will swing onto the Marian Theatre stage from September 15 - October 1.

This gripping family drama is about Troy Maxson, a former star of the Negro baseball leagues who now works as a garbage man in 1957 Pittsburgh. As a black man excluded from the major leagues during his prime, Troy's inner conflicts take their toll on his relationships with his wife and his children as they look for their own chances to fulfill their dreams.

Fences is directed by Timothy Bond, Fight Director is Mark Booher, Scenic Designer is Jason Bolen, Costume Designer is Deb Trout, Lighting Designer is Tim Thistleton, Composer is Michael G. Keck, and Production Stage Manager is Ellen Beltramo*.

The cast includes Derrick Lee Weeden* as Troy Maxson, Karole Foreman* as Rose, Michael j. Asberry* as Jim Bono, Satchel Andre as Lyons, Michael G. Keck as Gabriel, Chris Mansa as Cory, and Kandace Flowers as Raynell.

Fences is the third of 10 plays (The American Century Cycle) August Wilson penned to dramatize the black experiences in the United States with each play representing every decade of the 20th century. It won the 1987 Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in the same year.

Fences is set in 1950s Pittsburgh and is Wilson's most renowned work. It was developed at the National Playwrights Conference in 1983, premiering at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1985. It played on Broadway in 1987 featuring James Earl Jones as Troy Maxson. In addition to the Tony for Best Play, it also won Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play, Best Featured Actor in a Play, and Best Direction of a Play. It also won Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Actor in a Play, and Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play. A revival in 2010 featured Denzel Washington as Troy Maxson and Viola Davis as Rose. It was nominated for ten Tony Awards wining Best Revival of a Play, Best Actor in a Play, and Best Actress in a Play. A film adaptation directed by Denzel Washington in which he also starred with Viola Davis, reprising their roles from the Broadway production, was released last year. It was nominated for four Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Davis won for her performance. Washington and Davis also received Golden Globe nominations for their performances.

Timothy Bond, who has directed seven of Wilson's Century Cycle plays, said he is honored to be directing the first August Wilson play in PCPA's history, "Mr. Wilson is considered by many to be the American Shakespeare. His American Century Cycle, exploring the heritage and experience of African Americans, decade by decade, over the course of the 20th Century, is one of the monumental feats in the history of theatre. The design team's focus has been about capturing the gritty truth and poetic blues-scape of the Maxson Family household which consists of an ancient two-story brick house in a dirt yard in the hill district of Pittsburgh in 1957. I am very excited about our stellar cast led by the amazing Derrick Lee Weeden and Karole Foreman as the unforgettable characters of Troy and Rose Maxson. The contagious humor, brilliant storytelling, powerful dialogue and soulful songs make Fences an unforgettable American Classic."

Bond said there is much in this story he can personally relate to. Like the character Troy Maxson, Bond believed he would eventually play professional baseball until suffering an injustice and an injury that extinguished his dream. Beyond that he said, "It is significant to me to be telling this story in the Post-Obama Era in America, when many people in this nation are reawakening to the reality that there is still much work to be done to equal the playing field for people of color and women. As a person of color I have also faced racial discrimination in a number of ways throughout my life and live with those scars. I believe that by exploring African-American perspectives and culture, and examining America's legacy of racial discrimination, all Americans have a chance to holistically proceed into the future."

New York Times critic Frank Rich said, "[Wilson's] artistic goal of writing a play for every decade of the twentieth century promises to become a dramatic testament not only to the experiences of African-Americans, but to the history of all Americans."

Writer Daniel M. Scott observed, "The black presence in the United States is fundamental to the very existence and prominence of the nation. Wilson's works are the very stuff of the American Dream; they are celebrations of history, endurance, and achievement."

Performances run September 15 - October 1 at Marian Theatre, 800 S. College Dr., Santa Maria (GPS 870 S. Bradely Rd., Santa Maria). Tickets $31.50 - $41.50. Discounts for Students, Children, Seniors, and Preview performance on Sept. 15. Pay What You Can performance, Sunday, September 17, 1:30pm. Contact the Box Office at (805) 922-8313, and go to www.pcpa.org/Fences.html for more information. Visit www.pcpa.org, and follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/pacificconservatorytheatre.

For 53 years, PCPA, a professional conservatory theatre, has infused the national theatre scene with thousands of trained actors and theatre technicians.

*Member, Actors' Equity Association

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