First rehearsal: Fences

Stage manager David Blackwell and director Phylicia Rashad
Stage manager David Blackwell and director Phylicia Rashad

Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein characterized Tuesday as a historic day in Long Wharf Theatre’s history. For the first time, the theatre will produce the work of the master playwright August Wilson.

The staff and creative team celebrated the first rehearsal of Fences, directed by Phylicia Rashad. Edelstein pointed out that Wilson had a fruitful relationship with Yale Repertory Theatre, which premiered many of his plays, including Fences. “Now August belongs to all of us,” he said.

Members of the cast of Fences getting ready for the first reading of the play
Members of the cast of Fences getting ready for the first reading of the play

Wilson’s Century Cycle, of which Fences is a part, is one of the most singular, ambitious work created by an American writer working in any genre, Edelstein said. “I don’t know of another American writer who has done what August … he chronicled a century and chronicled a people,” he said.

Director Phylicia Rashad was eager to get down to work, praising her cast and design team as being up to the challenge of dealing with the emotional complexity of Wilson’s play. “This is a great day … I think it is a time to regroup, rethink, reorganize, and rediscover, and that is what we are going to do,” she said.

— Steve Scarpa

Members of Long Wharf Theatre's Board of Trustees and staff at the meet and greet for Fences
Members of Long Wharf Theatre’s Board of Trustees and staff at the meet and greet for Fences

 

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