August Wilson is arguably the most important African-American playwright of the second half of the 20th Century, and Miami is blessed with not one but two black-centric theater companies that regularly present his work. Anyone lucky enough to catch the M Ensemble’s intensive and immersive production of Wilson’s King Hedley II last year should be lining up to see Fences, courtesy of African American Performing Arts Community Theatre, which just this season obtained professional theater status.
Set in the 1950s as it transitions into the ’60s, Fences is the sixth entry in Wilson’s ten-part “Pittsburgh Cycle,” chronicling the African-American experience in the 20th Century. It runs about three hours, and it’s as heavy as a truck full of concrete. Shattered dreams, dark secrets, and moral decay are just some of the themes emerging from a story about an ex-baseball prospect, ex-convict, and ex-just-about-everything who causes rifts in his familial unit while struggling to keep it afloat. For an introduction to Wilson’s work, you can’t do much better than Fences: It won both the Pulitzer and the Tony for best play when it premiered in 1987.
Thu., Oct. 17, 8 p.m.; Wednesdays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Oct. 17. Continues through Nov. 3, 2013