Round House Theatre’s latest production is the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Fences. Penned by renowned playwright, August Wilson, the play centers on Troy Maxson, an African-American man who struggles to find fulfillment while trying to keep control of his family.
Troy has worked hard to build a life for himself. Rose, his wife of 18 years is devoted to him. He has a healthy teenage son and a loyal best friend. Troy has a comfortable house and has even managed to overcome the racism displayed on his job. However, things start to change. His son Cory is recruited to play football but Troy is against it. A former baseball player, Troy is left with the bitterness and regret of an unrealized dream. Eventually, Troy makes choices that alter his family irrevocably. All the while, Troy is building a fence both literally and figuratively. For Troy, it is a fence that keeps others at bay but for Rose, it serves as a device to her family close to her.
Fences is a skillfully written play, engrossing from the very beginning. It is also highly relatable. Many have ambitions that never come to fruition. Also, there are those that are willing to risk everything to find a piece of contentment. Wilson illustrates these points eloquently.
The direction by Thomas W. Jones II is tight. There are no missteps in evidence. His actors give vibrant and very real performances. Hassan El-Amin dominates the stage as the troubled Troy. His performance communicates great depth. Nadine Mozon plays Rose so convincingly, one feels empathy for her. El-Amin and Mozon play well off each other. Their son is played by Lance Coadie Williams. He gives a very earnest performance that works well for his character. Additionally, one cannot fail to mention the outstanding portrayal supplied by Frederick Strother. Strother plays Troy’s brother Gabriel. Gabriel’s reduced faculties make him almost childlike and Strother communicates that beautifully while still conveying that he is a grown man.
Daniel Conway’s set design is excellent. The authentic looking old house is a bit worse for wear but welcoming. The lighting by Jos. B. Musumeci, Jr. compliments it well and the costumes by Rosemary Pardee help to define the characters.
Round House has provided a wonderful opportunity to see this fine play. It is an opportunity that should not be missed. Fences runs through May 2nd at Round House’s Bethesda location.
Round House Theatre
Troy: Hassan El-Amin