Playing the character of Rose from the play ‘Fences’ by August Wilson
Social, historical, cultural and political context:
Fences was written in 1983 and first performed at the 46th Street Theatre on Broadway in 1987. Fences is the sixth play in Wilson's "Pittsburgh Cycle." The Cycle is a series of plays set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania over the ten decades of the 20th century. Fences is set in the 1950's and deals with issues of race relations and the changing broader culture of the United States. On my first reading of the play, rose came across as a very depressed character submissive and beaten downby lifes many hardship. In the period the play was set (1950s), being black, a women and in the working class spelled out an evitable hardship which I feel over the years, broke Roses spirit. I feel life probably revolved around Roses family. Even through her husband seems to be the more dominant force, I feel Rose has a huge strength within lurking behind her… and we really see evidence of this in the monologue speech I perform. Life would have been very challenging for Rose and her family. Segregation was a dominant feature in the 1950’s pittsburg
The setting of Pittsburgh seems to be particularly important because of what it and other Northern industrial cities represented for many black people. In the decades following the Civil War, many African Americans migrated north to escape the poverty and racial discrimination of the South. They hoped to find work in the factories, but were often disappointed. Troy discusses not being able to find work when he first came to Pittsburgh. He ended up living in a shack and resorted to crime to survive. In some ways, Pittsburgh represents promise and promises broken. Even though progress had been made by this point in American history, there was still a long way to go. Keep in mind that this was before the days of the Civil Rights Movement. The South was still officially segregated, and in the North many...
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