Denzel Washington and Viola Davis premiere “Fences”
By Roger Friedman
Denzel Washington has two Academy Awards. Come June, he’s going to be able to add a Tony Award as well to his collection of gold statues.
Last night at the Cort Theater, Denzel and Viola Davis opened in a revival of the late August Wilson’s “Fences” –directed by Kenny Leon– to cheers and raves. Each of these actors deserves a Tony for their work, and my guess is they will get them. Very few this season (maybe Alfred Molina, Laura Linney, Jan Maxwell) came close to the work they’re doing at the Cort. They are just mesmerizing as a couple whose 18 year marriage is not what it seems.
And while Denzel’s Troy wants to put up fences to keep out trouble, it’s he who inevitably invites it in. It’s not Wilson’s most sophisticated metraphor, but almost three decades after it premiered with James Earl Jones, Mary Alice, and Courtney B. Vance, the play resonates. The audience is just as vocally involved as they were when I saw it in 1987. (The play takes place from 1957 to 1965 in a city that could be Detroit or Pittsburgh.)
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DENZEL WASHINGTON TALKS ABOUT “FENCES”