August Wilson's Fences - Stage Direction

Topics: The Stage, August Wilson, Drink Pages: 2 (510 words) Published: September 21, 2011
Fences
Act 1, Scene 1
JOURNAL #6 Select three examples of a stage direction and comment on the effect.
August Wilson’s Fences describes the lives of Troy Maxson, his family, and his friends. Readers recognize the importance of dialogue—the way characters speak to each other as well as the words they choose—in learning their personalities. However, in plays, playwrights also characterize through stage direction. In this scene, the stage commands drinking, offering, and handing help to set the tone of the opening as well as of the characters of Fences.

Firstly, upon returning to his wife and home, Troy and Bono drink as they talk. Rose proudly brings up that their son, Cory, “got recruited by a college football team” (Wilson; A1Sc1; 8). Troy, however, reacts less pleasantly, saying “it ain’t gonna get him nowhere”. Readers learn that Troy used to play baseball but never received the chance to play professionally, which he believes resulted from his skin color. He states that if a person can play, then they “ought to have let you play” (10) which suggests his desire for equal treatment as well as the chance to play for a team. The stage direction, Troy takes a long drink from the bottle, follows this statement. This action allows readers to learn that, Troy already aged and married, still resents the injustice.

Secondly, Troy’s eldest son, Lyons joins later in the scene, greeted rather standoffish by his father, who claims Lyons only “was in the neighborhood cause it’s” (14) Troy’s payday. Rose berates him because even though Lyons came to visit him, Troy wants to “start all that nonsense” (13). Troy responds easily that he “ain’t bothering Lyons” (14). This statement alone wouldn’t easily quell readers’ belief that Troy always acts so impassive towards his son. But, coupled with the stage direction, Offers him [Lyons] the bottle, readers feel that this gesture shows Troy’s affection for Lyons without words. Finally, during Troy and Bono’s conversation,...
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