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WRLT painting August Wilson’s 'Fences' in latest offering

Theatergoers who take in playwright August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "Fences" at the Warner Robins Little Theatre may find more than entertainment.

"I believe this show will help people to look at how they feel about racial issues, ... about their marriages, how we do build fences in our life about the things that we fear," director Paula Day Johns says.

The play, published two decades ago, earning James Earl Jones a Tony Award in 1987, chronicles the life and trials of Troy Maxson (played by Tim Craig), a Pittsburgh garbage collector.

Allan Wallach, the theater critic for New York's Newsday, once wrote that Wilson's depiction of Troy is "a rich portrait of a man who scaled down his dreams to fit inside his run-down yard."

WRLT's John's says Troy "had a strong work ethic, he loved his family, he gave everything of himself to them, but he wanted to keep them tight and he wanted to control their boundary, and that is the significance of the fence."

One of the play's memorable lines comes from Troy's best friend Jim Bono (Charles Howard), who says, "Some people build fences to keep people out; some people build fences to keep people in."

"Fences," which is WRLT's first show of the '07-'08 season, features a cast of seven, including local actors Venis Glover as Rose, Troy Maxson's wife; Ervin Glover as Cory, Troy's son; Geoff Felps, as Lyons, another of Troy's sons and Benjamin Roundtree as Troy's brother Gabriel.

"It's the story of a man who is somewhat controlled by fear — fear of life, fear of death. ... Fear of never getting where he aspired to. He always lived in the past, of what could not be," Johns says.

In addition to its half-month run at WRLT, "Fences" will be performed by the same cast on Aug. 3-4 at Macon's Douglass Theatre.

Opens tonight

What: 'Fences' When: 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday, July 13-14, 19-21 and 26-28, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 15 and 22 Where: Warner Robins Little Theatre, 502 S. Pleasant Hill Road Cost: $10-$15 Phone: 929-4579