The production will mark the first time an August Wilson play has been performed in a Mainstage season for PlayMakers, the professional theater company in residence at UNC.
Struggling against inescapable burdens of intergenerational and societal limitations, an embittered ex-Negro League ballplayer and his family take a profound emotional journey in this story of frustration, despair and searching for dignity.
“Fences” is part of Wilson’s legendary decade-by-decade cycle of plays on the evolving black experience in the 20th century, exploring particularly what it was like to be black and male in mid-century America.
The play won every major prize when it debuted on Broadway in 1987, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and recently added to its prestigious award count during last season’s Broadway revival starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. PlayMakers’ production will be directed by Seret Scott, a veteran interpreter of Wilson’s work.
The New York Times said that Wilson combines “the poet’s ear for vernacular with a robust sense of humor … a sure instinct for crackling dramatic incident and a passionate commitment to a great subject,” and that “Fences” is his “finest and most credible portrait of a relationship between a man and a woman … brought to complete aching life … with moments of genuine glory.”
PlayMakers’ production will feature Charlie Robinson in the role of Troy Maxon. Although best known for his many television roles, including Mac in “Night Court,” Robinson has played Troy in productions of “Fences” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and South Coast Repertory (Costa Mesa, Calif.), for which he won the LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Best Lead Actor in a Play.
Robinson has appeared in TV series including “Buffalo Bill,” “Home Improvement,” “The Secret Life of an American Teenager,” “House,” “Big Love,” “Cold Case,” “My Name is Earl,” “The Bernie Mac Show” and “30 Rock.” His TV movies include “Roots: The Next Generation” and “King.” Films include “Apocalypse Now,” “Gray Lady Down,” “Set It Off” and “Antwone Fisher.”
All performances will be in the Paul Green Theatre in UNC’s Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Show times will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. on Nov. 6 and 2 p.m. Sundays. For a complete schedule, more information and to purchase tickets, call (919) 962-PLAY (7529) or visit www.playmakersrep.org. Tickets are $10 to $45.
On Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m. PlayMakers will host “The Vision Series: Directors in Conversation” with “Fences” director Scott. Theater-goers and others interested in the creative process are invited to the Paul Green Theatre to share wine, coffee and other refreshments, along with a behind-the-scenes preview of the upcoming production.
“The Vision Series” is free to the public. Reservations are encouraged, as space is limited. Call PlayMakers’ box office at 919.962.7529 to RSVP.
Other special events during “Fences” will include:
- “In the Wings,” a series created by PlayMakers and the Durham County Library. Director Seret Scott and cast members discuss the play at the Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St., downtown Durham, on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.;
- a program with the director and cast members at McIntyre’s Books, Fearrington Village, Pittsboro, on Oct. 18 at 6 p.m.;
- preview performances on Oct. 27, 28, 29 at 7:30 p.m.;
- the opening night performance on Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m., with a complimentary gala party afterward;
- free post-show discussions with the creative team are on Nov. 3 and Nov. 7;
- The Prologue Series, created by PlayMakers and the Chapel Hill Library, presenting a pre-show conversation with a member of the PlayMakers creative team on Nov. 5 at noon;
- free post-show “Mindplay” discussions sponsored by the North Carolina Psychoanalytic Society on Nov. 13 and 14; and
- an all-access performance for attendees with special needs, with sign language interpretation and audio description, on Nov. 9.
Following “Fences,” PlayMakers’ 2010-2011 Mainstage Season continues with “Shipwrecked! An Entertainment” by Pulitzer Prize-winner Donald Margulies (Dec. 1-19) and the Tony Award-winning plays, “Angels in America, Parts 1 and 2” by Tony Kushner (performed in repertory Jan. 29- March 6, 2011). The season finale will be PlayMakers’ first musical in more than a decade, “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (April 6-24, 2011), featuring The Red Clay Ramblers as the onstage band.
PlayMakers is based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. The Drama League has named PlayMakers one of the “best regional theatre companies in
Coverage note: Media are welcome to cover “The Vision Series” preview and director’s talk on Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m. Photography, videography, lights and flashes are not restricted. For assistance, call (919) 428-1744.
PlayMakers contact: Connie Mahan, (919) 428-1744, firstname.lastname@example.org