Fences. Have you ever cried at the theatre?

Recently, I was able to see Fences at the McCarter Theater with my school. On the bus ride there we got some insight on the playwright's history and the play. Interesting things:

  1. August Wilson dropped out of high school as a sophomore.
  2. Fences was part of a 10 play cycle. These plays, known as the Century or Pittsburgh cycle, are one for every decade of the 20th century.
  3. Fences is set in the 50's.
  4. All are set in Pittsburgh, with the exception of one.

Entering the McCarter, feeling welcome and comfortable at the theater, it was great. This was a student matinee, so... the place was packed with youth.

I'm fairly good at holding my composure during heavy works, not crying at Titanic or The Notebook or any of the usual suspects; yet Fences found a way to turn on the waterworks for me. When Cory returned home from the army and Raynell, his little sister, didn't know who he was... it shook me. Not enough to make me burst out in tears, but enough to make me listen.

Later, Cory and Raynell began to sing a song their daddy used to sing all the time. As I listened to the song, I could feel my body changing. I started tensing up like it would help me from crying. Then, when Cory, in the middle of their song, began to cry - I kept wiping my eyes and taking deep breaths managing not to shed a tear. But finally, Gabe tries to blow his horn, failing miserably. At that point I thought it was meant as a joke, and I chuckled some as the need to cry died away. But soon, I realized how tragic this moment was... and that is when I lost it.

I have no clue why but the play struck such a cord with me. I remember saying to myself "hold in the tears, you can't be bawling in the middle of this performance." I was honestly afraid I would miss something I needed to see.  I mean, coupled with the actors crying and a majority of the audience sniffling and tearing up... I was a goner. I'm actually surprised I held it together until the last second. Even though I had tried so hard to hide it, I'm pretty sure everyone could tell I was crying.

It was an overwhelming feeling, the atmosphere was heavy in spirit and most were left without words, I being one of them. It's funny because I'm not one to cry in public. But, it was like everything that had been welling up inside me hit me at once. I don't really known why I cried, but I know this piece affected me in ways others have not. The show had definitely left a mark, and you can bet I left talking about it, smiling, with tears in my eyes.

$20 Tickets

Fences @ McCarter Theater in NJ, thru Feb. 16