Joburg Theatre announces changes to the cast of August Wilson’s FENCES

Joburg Theatre announces with heavy hearts that Dr John Kani will be stepping down from the lead role in August Wilson’s FENCES taking place from 02 – 26 February 2023 due to ill health. We are, however, pleased that he will continue to work with the Theatre as a co-producer.

The cast is filled with energetic creatives who will deliver phenomenal stirring performances throughout the run. Tumisho Masha will take the leading role of Troy, who was originally played by Dr John Kani. The renowned Masha was originally cast in the role of Jim Bono Troy’s best friend. Actor, dramaturg and writer Lunga Radebe will be playing Jim Bono; Troy’s best friend.

“It is with great sadness that I have to announce that I will be stepping down from the role of Troy Maxon in August Wilson’s, Fences. It is a role I have long dreamed of playing. However a bout of vertigo and the concurrent imbalance that it causes is precluding me from stepping on stage in this demanding role. I will, however, continue to play a significant role as a co-producer and continue to be part of the rehearsals working closely with the director and the cast. I am delighted to advise that the director has chosen the highly talented and experienced actor, Tumisho Masha, to succeed me in the role. I have no doubt that Tumisho will do great justice to this challenging part – as I would have done. I would like to wish the director, the cast, the designers and the crew great success in staging this exciting work.
I am quite sure that I shall recover from this temporary medical condition and be back at work again soon” said Dr John Kani.

Fences is a 1985 play which tells the story of a family, headed by Troy (played by Tumisho Masha) and his wife Rose (played by Khutjo Green) navigating various hurdles with their son Cory (played by Atandwa Kani), Troy’s brother Gabriel (played by Sbusiso Mamba), his best friend Jim Bono (played by Lunga Radebe) and Lyons(played by Hlomla Dandala), Troy’s son from a previous relationship.

The play additionally explores the evolving African American experience, race relations and other themes which resonate with what South Africa experienced during Apartheid.

“I’m very excited to be directing this stellar cast and look forward to playing to Joburg audiences. Rehearsals are on track with the cast in high spirit as we prepare to start previews on the 2nd of February and an official opening on the 5th of February” says Ricardo Khan, Director of Fences.

Tickets for the preview show from 2 – 4 February 2023 will retail for R160 while those for the main staging of Fences which runs from 5 – 26 February 2023 will cost R200 – R450.

The Production Team
Playwright: August Wilson
Director: Ricardo Khan
Assistant Director: Rorisang Motuba

• Tumisho Masha (Troy)
• Khutjo Green (Rose; Troy’s wife)
• Lunga Radebe (Jim Bono; Troy’s best friend)
• Atandwa Kani (Cory; Troy and Rose’s son)
• Sbusiso Mamba (Gabriel; Troy’s brother)
• Hlomla Dandala (Lyons; Troy’s son from a previous relationship)

August Wilson, the African American playwright referred to as the “theatre’s poet of Black America”, best known for his astonishing plays like Fences, Piano Lesson, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and The Pittsburgh Cycle, which chronicles the experiences and heritage of the African-American community in the 20th century. He won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for his play ‘Fences’ and earned a second Pulitzer Prize for ‘The Piano Lesson. Audiences, all around the world have been blessed with moments to feast on palatable text from pieces like Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Seven Guitars, and Jitney, just to mention a few of his works.

Fences is a 1985 play, set in the 1950s, it is the sixth in Wilson’s ten-part “Pittsburgh Cycle. Like all of the “Pittsburgh” plays, Fences explores the evolving African-American experience and examines race relations, among other themes.

At the height of the Civil Rights Movement, August Wilson penned the most astonishing stories of the everyday man and woman. He weaved intricate narratives that told the stories of dreamers and dreams deferred.

Fences will be directed by the American playwright and theatre director, Ricardo Khan an acclaimed director on both American and International stages. Khan co-founded the Tony Award-winning and highly influential Crossroads Theatre Company of New Jersey.

August Wilson’s Fences is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French Inc www.concordtheatricals.com 

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Watch the below video of James Ngcobo talking about the August Wilson Season, programmed for Joburg Theatre for 2023\24. CLICK HERE