BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Everyman Theatre wanted to know if a local ice cream maker were open to the idea of designing a new flavor around a story by America’s pre-eminent playwright, August Wilson.

As Mike Schuh reports, the result is quite a mix.

Here’s who’s in the mix: Taharka Brothers’ socially conscious ice cream; The Everyman Theatre and Fences, the play depicting struggle, setbacks and barriers by Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson…and the creative team that will tie all this together.

Everyman asked Taharka to design a custom flavor, so managing director Jon Waller took delivery of the first pint of Swinging For the Fences.

“But they thought through every single ingredient that went here,” he said.

Ingredients were researched in Pittsburgh, Wilson’s hometown.

“They were drinking gin throughout the play. Blues was a big thing throughout the play,” said Taharka CEO Martina Lynch.

So she was inspired to include gin and blueberries for the blues…and because many of the characters were bitter, sour cream.

Hidden flat halfway into a pint, a wafer blocks the sweet cream underneath. It’s a fence.

“It’s symbolic for breaking the walls of society, the different classes of society and basically unification,” said Lynch.

So, inspired by the play, Lynch didn’t stop at ice cream. The spoken word artist in her had something to say.

“It’s like August Wilson said in the play: every day, there is a new obstacle placed into the way,” she said.

Now Everyman hopes to include her spoken work—as well as her ice cream—before the curtain of some performances of Fences.

This is the theater’s first experiment in community engagement.

“It’s really a work of art and hopefully it makes someone interested in the great August Wilson and his masterpiece, Fences,” said Waller.

That play opens Tuesday night and runs until November 22. The ice cream can be found at Taharka’s Factory in Hampden and during some performances at the Everyman.


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