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Circle Theatre in Fort Worth scores a home run with August Wilson’s ‘Fences’

September 14,2022


See full Dallas Morning News article by Michael Granberry here.

When Fences opened in Los Angeles in 1988, three years after its Broadway debut, famous Black athletes — Magic Johnson and Edwin Moses in particular — filled the theater. James Earl Jones played the lead, and he was truly a majestic choice for expressing the rage of Troy Maxson, whose life story was a tragic illustration of the “fences” America creates in the form of racism.

We are long past the time when August Wilson’s Tony Award-winning classic is available only to the nation’s two largest cities. Heck, in 2016, it even became a movie starring Denzel Washington, who also served as director. His co-star, Viola Davis, won the Oscar for best supporting actress.

Fences has now arrived closer to home, in a terrific production at Circle Theatre in downtown Fort Worth. Sean Massey is explosive as Troy, who is a casualty of time as much as he is the embodiment of one of the play’s most memorable lines: “Some people build fences to keep people out and other people build fences to keep people in.” A once-gifted baseball star in the segregated Negro Leagues who now works as a garbage man, he was deemed too old to play in the years after Major League Baseball allowed a single individual — Jackie Robinson — to shatter the color line in 1947.

Stormi Demerson artfully embodies the character of Troy’s long-suffering wife, Rose, who Frank Rich described in his 1985 review in The New York Times as “a slow, flickering fuse that detonates forcefully once she’s given a belated chance to drop her opaque façade.”

Details: Fences runs through Sept. 24 at Circle Theatre, 230 West Fourth Street in Fort Worth.
Info: circletheatre.com.


Location Mentioned: Circle Theatre