Charm oozes off Troy, a trash collector fromPittsburgh. He cajoles his wife and banters with hisfriend Bono in his backyard. He talks about life andlost chances; because Troy knows what it is to lose.A promising baseball player, he never made the bigleagues.
Instead, he scrapes by. What he lacks in the world he makes up at home, where he rules as thelord of the manor, always reminding his family who's boss. His relationship with his youngestson, Cory, is contentious to say the least.
Denzel Washington's fine performance has made him a prime contender for an Oscarnomination. His portrayal of Troy reveals the racial divide of mid-century America.
Russell Hornsby, who plays Troy's older son Lyons, a struggling musician vying for his father'srespect, told VOA, that like the play, the film looks at the relationship between father and sonwithin a fractured African American family.
“He's looking for love and he's looking for family; he's looking to be accepted and he's lookingto be embraced by his father," he says. "And so many men of color, black men historically, livelife without and so, therefore, they are fractured sometimes, therefore they are broken andtheir backs are bent."
In an interview with VOA, Denzel Washington said the film and characters transcend race. “The themes of this film, this play, are universal themes. They stand beyond black and white;they reach to the husband and wife, and father and son, mother and son.”
He says the same applies to Troy's inner character. It is not defined by his skin color, but goesright to the core of his psyche.
“August Wilson has fashioned a masterpiece that's one of the great plays in American History.And it's an honor to be asked to act in it, it's an honor to produce it and direct it and to be apart of it,” said Washington.
Viola Davis delivers an Oscar worthy performance as Rose, Troy's wife, and his rock ofstability.
Fences has the potential for multiple Oscar awards, especially after years of criticism that theAcademy has ignored people of color. But Hornsby says, the awards aren't on the actors'minds.
“We've already won, quite honestly. We are victorious just by sitting before you and just byhaving the film completed and in the can so that people can see and bear witness to thegenius that is August Wilson.”