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“Fences” at IRT showcases phenomenal actors, strong message

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The Indiana Repertory Theater (IRT) is widely known as one of the most prestigious theaters in all of Indiana. Knowing this, I came into their theater to watch the show “Fences” expecting to be amazed. I was not disappointed. In fact, I was blown away by the pure talent and emotional range of the actors and actresses onstage, along with the technical aspects of the show. “Fences” is the powerful story of how Troy, a former Negro League baseball player, copes with his inability to succeed and tries to find some way to care for his family and deal with the limitations put upon him based on the color of his skin.

David Anderson did a phenomenal job portraying the conflicted and extremely complex character Troy. This role required an immense emotional range along with the ability to humanize a rather unlikeable character, which Anderson did. Terry Bellamy also stood out as a particularly strong actor in the role of Gabriel, the seemingly insane brother of Troy. He made the role very sweet and brought some comic relief to the show, which was mostly very dark and heavy. Kim Staunton made a very good Rose, but there were times in her performance where her emotions seemed too forced and a bit over-the-top, which took the audience out of the show at some important moments. Overall, the entire cast did an amazing job, and there was no apparent weak link.

Terry Bellamy and Kim Staunton act in a performance of "Fences." These two cast members were arguably the best actors in the show. IRTLIVE.COM // SOURCE

Terry Bellamy and Kim Staunton act in a performance of “Fences.” These two cast members were arguably the best actors in the show. IRTLIVE.COM // SOURCE

The set for this show is definitely worth mentioning. The set was incredibly lifelike and looked like it could be out of a real photograph of a cheaper house in the 1950s. It really brought the time period and setting of the show to life, and was incredibly intricate in its design. The attention to detail was striking and really paid off from an audience perspectives. The other technical aspect that really helped the show was the lighting. The lighting differed from scene to scene to demonstrate the time of day the scene took place in. It was really amazing how well the lighting showed the different times of day; it was always very clear what time the scene was supposed to be set in due to the careful programming of the lighting. Overall, the technical design of this show was absolutely outstanding and made the show come to life for the audience.

The play itself was very well chosen; it portrayed a strong message and really highlighted the abilities of their actors and actresses. However, the play itself dragged on a bit long, which was obviously not the fault of anyone at the IRT, but it did make the audience enjoy it a bit less.

Overall, “Fences” was a phenomenally well-performed masterpiece from the IRT which I would absolutely recommend. The show runs from now until April 3 and tickets are available at www.irtlive.com.

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