aa2I have mixed feelings about the Oscar-nominated film Fences, based on the brilliant play by August Wilson. Mixed because the film does not elevate the material to the potential of the medium and comes off like many plays adapted to the screen do, as “stagey.” A bizarre criticism as the source material is so great and Mr. Wilson adapted his own words for the screenplay. But enough about that. What I can say without a doubt, is that August Wilson’s words need to be read, and thanks to the film, the original play, Fences, has been republished to be enjoyed by a whole new audience.

About Fences by August Wilson: “From legendary playwright August Wilson, the powerful, stunning dramatic work that won him critical acclaim, including the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize. Troy Maxson is a strong man, a hard man. He has had to be to survive. Troy Maxson has gone through life in an America where to be proud and black is to face pressures that could crush a man, body and soul. But the 1950s are yielding to the new spirit of liberation in the 1960s, a spirit that is changing the world Troy Maxson has learned to deal with the only way he can, a spirit that is making him a stranger, angry and afraid, in a world he never knew and to a wife and son he understands less and less.”

Great playwrights, like Mr. Wilson, are able to tell stories about people that are so intimate and personal yet they speak to the lives of millions. In Fences, Troy Maxson seems like a singular man but you can just feel that his story is the untold story of many others – all of which need to be told.

Fences by August Wilson is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.