Fences by August Wilson
A Review by Becky Holland
Publisher: Plume, Reissue edition (June 1, 1986)
RATINGS: 4 stars
August Wilson has been deemed the most popular African-American playwright in the nation. After reading his work, Fences, in preparation for seeing the movie of the same name with Denzel Washington, I have to say labeling Wilson as such is wrong. Wilson went beyond the limits of being a ‘playwright.’
A host of characters connected through blood, career and dreams come alive in the crème pages. Wilson’s design pulls the reader into a comfortable setting as each page is turned. As the characters move about interacting with each other, one can’t but not to feel a wide plethora of emotions.
Wilson uses the 100 plus pages of the screenplay to share the life of an African-American family in Pittsburgh faces financial troubles – as most did during that time. There is the papa in the family – Troy. A former baseball play in the Negro League- Troy didn’t make it to the Majors. His relationships with his family and his coworkers are key. The relationships range from full of tension to normal.
I highly recommend reading the screenplay =formatted in a paperback book – before you see the movie. It is most certainly not your typical ‘play.’ In fact, think of it ike a ‘made-for-TV’ ‘Hallmark’ movie. Grab you a cup of your favorite hot drink and a comfy throw, and throw your dog a good chewy treat so he will sit with you while you read it.