ROCKINGHAM — The story of a former black baseball league star struggling to provide for his family before the civil-rights era will play out on the Richmond Community Theatre stage.
“Fences” by August Wilson opens tonight at the 109 E. Washington St. theatre. The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama follows leading character Troy Maxson, a 53-year-old former baseball player.
Set in the 1950s, the play features themes of strained race relations and job inequality intermingling with those of devotion to family and the pursuit of a better quality of life.
“There’s a very universal theme in this play,” Director Shelly Walker said. “Troy Maxson is a flawed human being, as we all are. He continues a cycle in his family and feels his father did him some injustice, yet perpetuates the cycle with his own son. We want our children to do better and to be better, but we also hold them back. Parents do so much for their children, and they do the best they can, but they all have those histories behind them they often never escape.”
As for Wednesday’s ticket sales at the box office, Walker said recent changes to tax laws could be affecting reservations.
“It’s kind of hit or miss,” she said. “But we’re expecting more sales. We’ve had a change, there’s a new tax law that went into effect starting in the fall of 2013. We don’t have to collect taxes on this show, but we are having to account for the purchases of seats differently. We used to take unpaid reservations and people would pay when they arrived, but the numbers wouldn’t match up at the end of the day. Because of the tax law change, we’ve had to make sure our books are rock solid. Change is hard and the theater has been here for 30 years and people say ‘Why do you have to go and change everything?’ So it has affected some of our reservation numbers. We expect to sell the bulk of tickets at the box office immediately before the shows, so my advice is buy tickets early. We tend to sell out fast.”
In the cast, Bruce Stanback plays Troy Maxson, Raynard House is Jim Bono, Anitra Ingram is Rose Maxson, Daniel Wall is Lyons, Melvin L. Ingram is Gabriel, Tyrese Clark is Cory, and Ashlyn Davis is Raynell.
Key people behind the scenes include Ishmael Terry as understudy, Tonya Williams running the lighting board, Brandon Davis running the sound board and Nerissa Davis as stage crew.
The play runs through May 24. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.This is the third and final production for the 2013-14 season.
All seating is reserved and tickets cost $10. The box office accepts only cash or checks and is open Mondays through Saturdays from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Debit and credit card purchases should be made online at www.brownpapertickets.com.
For more information on the show or tickets, call 910-997-3765.
Reach reporter Melonie Flomer at 910-997-3111, ext. 15