CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
Film Review: Denzel Washington & Viola Davis Swing for the ‘Fences’
CHICAGO – Viola Davis and Denzel Washington are actors who are likely to give plays adapted for the screen a good name. Their commitment to the material shines through in the new film “Fences.” Davis and Washington have a well worn familiarity with the characters –having portrayed them on Broadway in the 2010 revival of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play.
The story centers on an aging African American couple in post-World War II Pittsburgh. Troy (Denzel Washington) is a former Negro League ballplayer who hit his prime before baseball’s color barrier was broken. Now he’s a garbage man making a living, but not much more, and carrying on about his glory days…nurturing the fantasy that he can still play, so as not to face reality. Troy’s wife is Rose (Viola Davis), who is clearly very fond of her husband, but can see right through his bluster to see what’s really eating him inside.
Make no mistake, “Fences” bears all the hallmarks of its stagey past. This is essentially the “play on screen,” complete with a period setting largely confined to a couple of locales, plus social messages and long speechifying, which clearly spells out each of the characters worldviews and beliefs. And as sure as the night follows day, audiences will be witness to see those clearly spelled out beliefs tested and tried – by whatever trials life and the late playwright (who also adapted the screenplay before he passed away) can throw at them over the next couple of hours.
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in ‘Fences’
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures