Behind the Curtain

Official Blog of International City Theatre

Diary of an ICT Summer Intern: Why Young Adults Should See FENCES

August 3rd, 2015

Michael A. Shepperd & Karole Foreman in August Wilson's Fences

Michael A. Shepperd & Karole Foreman in August Wilson’s Fences at ICT.

International City Theatre is excited to introduce Lea Catbagan, our Summer Marketing and Development Intern. She will be working with us this summer thru the Los Angeles County Arts Commission Internship program, and will be producing a Blog series entitled “Diary of an ICT Summer Intern.”

Color. What is it? You’re probably thinking red, blue, or maybe yellow—and rightfully so.

But what exactly is color? Merriam-Webster defines color as “a visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects”. However, this description specifically states the word “objects”. Let’s disregard it and substitute humans. Now, how appropriate is it that this definition of color is fitting enough to apply within humanity?

Unlike a diverse box of crayons, people come in less colors—predominantly neutral colors that are nevertheless bold enough to redirect the quality of lives. We’re not identical human beings, yet treated as such at the instant sight of colored skin.

So, have times really changed? August Wilson, a phenomenal two-time Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright, wrote FENCES thirty-two years ago. The protagonist, Troy Maxson, is a fifty-three-year-old African American garbage collector living in the 1950’s. His unattainable dream in Major League Baseball has marked him forever. When his son, Cory, is considered for a college football scholarship, Troy suggests Cory returns to his grocery store job, as an attempt to protect him from the disappointments and scars of white dominance.

As young adults, we especially need the motivation and confidence to push through the barriers of society. Call it cliché, but we are the future. Prejudice and discrimination about certain things or ideas will always remain. People will always be stereotyped by their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Nonetheless, it is essential to not use that as a limitation for achievement, but as a challenge to move beyond.

August Wilson’s FENCES is a tribute to the scars of the past, and a light to the hopeful transformations of the future. Cory Maxson was expected to remain within his racial boundaries. However, with will and courage, he tackles through the high fence of discernment and chases after his own aspirations, regardless of the obstacles of society’s past.

This classic production bridges the past and the present, illuminating the timeless challenges of life, discrimination, and distant dreams. It’s filled with pain, love, and the heartening faith for youth of all races. Any young adult is guaranteed to relate to this heart-rending play, and perhaps feel that extra motivation to follow your dreams. FENCES is a visual memo of who we’re perceived to be, but a powerful reminder of who we can become, which is way more than a color.

August Wilson’s FENCES runs at International City Theatre August 19 – September 13. Purchase a ticket to see FENCES. Call us at (562) 436-4610 or go online at

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