As powerful now as when it debuted in 1987, August Wilson’s Pulitzer and Tony Award winning masterpiece, “Fences” will play the Pollard Theatre from February 10 – March 4, 2017. Featuring a talented cast of Oklahoma artists and helmed by a highly respected guest director, Akin Babatunde, “Fences” marks the fourth production in the Pollard Theatre Company’s landmark 30th Anniversary Season.
August Wilson’s “Fences”, the 1950’s entry into his Century Cycle (also known as his Pittsburgh Cycle) – is a decade-by-decade exploration of the black experience in 20th century America. Directed by Akin Babatunde, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play will feature Artistic Director W. Jerome Stevenson as Troy Maxson, Brian C. Scott as Jim Bono and Bethanie James as Rose. The cast also features Christopher Shepard as Cory, Roderick Porter as Gabriel, Zakee King as Lyons and Honey Scott as Raynell.
In “Fences”, Troy Maxson, one of the great characters of the American theater, has stepped up to the plate too many times in his life only to go down swinging. Shut out of the big leagues by prejudice, the former Negro League home-run king is now a garbage collector with little future. He tries to do right by his family, but when his youngest son Cory shows promise on the high school football team, Troy must come to terms with his past disappointments or risk tearing his family apart. “Stunning, explosive and tender” (The Seattle Times), “Fences” is “August Wilson at his finest” (Boston Herald). “Time has enhanced the luster of [the play] and it stands apart thanks to its distinctive lyricism and theatricality and its unforgettable central character. Fences is universal enough to touch a chord in every human heart.” (The New York Times).
“Fences” marks the Pollard Theater debut for Akin Babatunde, a native of Brooklyn, an accomplished actor, director, and writer whose theatrical career spans Broadway, regional theatre, film and television. “This is indeed my directorial debut at the Pollard Theater,” says Director Babatunde, “A few years ago I had the privilege of seeing this theater’s beautiful and a heartfelt production of “The Mountaintop”. I was impressed with the artistic leadership and the secure and family like environment of the staff. Therefore it was a welcome opportunity to direct and one I openly and joyously accept. August Wilson will indeed go down in history as one of America’s greatest playwrights in the genre of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. I have directed four and acted in five of the 10 play cycle and am always transformed in acquiring some aspect of the celebration of life in the human spirit.
Babatunde continues, “In “Fences” the human desire to “cocoon” an aspiration in the midst of one’s inner and outer turmoil, and yet still strive to dream, is vividly exemplified in the character Troy. Playwright August Wilson reveals this plight which has and in many cases still is the journey of many African-American males in this country’s history. And yet it is a tale of joy and triumph.”
Tickets for Fences are $25, with senior, military, student and educator discounts. Performances are February 10th through March 4th, 2017; Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Thursdays February 23rd and March 2nd at 8:00 pm, and Sundays February 19th and 26th at 2:00 pm. Tickets are available online at www.thepollard.org, by phone, 405-282-2800 or at the Pollard Box Office at 120 W. Harrison Ave., Guthrie, Oklahoma. Fences is sponsored by Mike and Liz Sterkel with additional support from the Oklahoma Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, John Vance Auto and the City of Guthrie.