Meet the “Broken Fences” neighbors at The Road Theatre Company

Broken Fences – Chicago to NoHo –  they can happen anywhere.

So, in case you didn’t know, NoHo is a theatre town. We have 20+ theatres in one square mile. This is the highest concentration outside of New York City. While we are proud of our theatre district, we must give snaps, claps and a lot of praise to the Road Theatre Company who is turning the big 25. They’re continuing their 2015-2016 25th anniversary season with the West Coast Premiere of “Broken Fences,” written by Steven Simoncic and directed by Andre Barron. Their 25th anniversary season is reason to cheer but the subject matter of “Broken Fences” rings true for us not only here in North Hollywood but many places in Los Angeles – gentrification. Will NoHo remain the vibrant arts district? Will our eclectic and ethnically rich neighborhood remain?

The Road Theatre has taken on this topic in “Broken Fences,” which takes place in a neighborhood on Chicago’s deep West Side, and the momentum of gentrification has taken hold and things have begun to change forever. As property taxes rise and demographics shift, Hoody and D struggle to keep the only home they have ever known. But when April and Czar–a white couple intent on starting a family–buy their first home and move in next door, the very definition of home is called into question. With unflinching honesty and unapologetic humor, Broken Fences attempts to examine identity and invisibility, community and security, hope and hostility in a modern American urban village that is at once foreign, and the place that these people call home.

Meet Donna Simone Johnson

Broken Fences at The Road Theatre Company

1) Why did you choose to play this role?

The larger themes of the play resonate with me so much: the struggle to find (and keep) home, the question of what defines home (the people? the building? the memories? the staples in the neighborhood?) and the search for identity in the natural progressions of life. I was especially fascinated by D: her resilience and vulnerability and the way that she pulls strength from the women who preceded her. I know so many women like D— whose first nature is others, and they move through the world with their heads down, satisfied with a respite from the trauma, and I AM a woman like D in that she sets deep roots and foundation while simultaneously yearning for something beyond herself. That tension is only heightened by the immediacy of losing the one place she has ever felt safe. She’s so complex and intelligent… a role like this, with such an arc is a treasure, and I am so humbled that I get to play her!

2) What would you like the audience to take away from the show?

Hopefully a revelation about or a glimpse into the other side of the fence. Steve Simoncic wrote this play cross-culturally, and it can sometimes feel like 2 separate plays. I would hope that audiences will leave with a fresh perspective, or a new sense of empathy for gentrifying neighborhoods like East Garfield Park and the people in them.

3) When did you become a member of the Road Theatre Company and why?

I joined The Road in the fall of 2014, after I met Sam Anderson at CTG and long story short, it was because I was looking for a home. I was excited about the diversity in opportunities to share my work from readings, teaching, producing and yes— mainstage shows as well! At this point, I think I’ve dabbled in it all, from working concession, to now serving on the Artistic Board… and I couldn’t feel luckier! I love the commitment to new voices, I’m proud that we consistently produce female-identifying playwrights (40-50% parity!) and most of all, I love the incredibly talented people I get to work with! The Road has a reputation for doing great work, and I’m proud to be a part of that!

4) Is there anything else you’d like to highlight?

Just a sense of gratitude for the entire team working on this show, and their commitment to telling the story. From our director, Andre Barron, to our designers and crew to the inspiring cast— I think I can say with confidence that we all fell in LOVE this story, these people and this neighborhood. We hope that you will see this love in our work!

Meet Mia Fraboni

Broken Fences at The Road Theatre Company in NoHo Arts District

1) Why did you choose to play this role?

April is a driven woman, who stands behind the decisions she makes. I wanted to live in the shoes of a person who continues to look forward and stay positive even when doubt presents itself.

2) What would you like the audience to take away from the show?

Life is messy. There aren’t always going to be clear answers.

3) When did you become a member of the Road Theatre Company and why?

I became a member of the Road in May 2015. I wanted to be apart of a community of theater artists, and many people had recommended that I check out the Road! Just being at the auditions I could feel how much the members cared about their work, and I knew these were the type of people I wanted to surround myself with.

4) Is there anything else you’d like to highlight?

This show highlights that sometimes everyone is right. I think it’s an important lesson to learn, and I hope that audiences feel torn about what they might do if they were in any of the character’s shoes.

WHAT: “Broken Fences”

NoHo Senior Arts Colony
10747 Magnolia Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

WHEN: February 12 – April 3


See you at the theatre!

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