Purdue Theater presents Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning Clybourne Park through this Saturday. WBAA's John Clare spoke with two cast members, Brianna Lewings and Carly Christensen about their research, and what it means today.
Learn more about the production here.
Brianna Lewings portrays the characters of Francine (Act I, 1959) & Lena (Act II, 2009). She researched race & gentrification in the two eras of the play. Carly Christensen portrays Bev (Act 1) and Kathy (Act II). She researched Deaf culture in 1959, because one of the characters in the play (Betsy) is deaf.
It’s a razor-sharp satire about the politics of race. In response to Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, playwright Bruce Norris set up Clybourne Park as a pair of scenes that bookend Hansberry’s piece. The scenes, fifty years apart, are both set in the same modest bungalow on Chicago’s northwest side just like A Raisin in the Sun. In 1959, Russ and Bev are moving out to the suburbs after the tragic death of their son. Inadvertently, they have sold their house to the neighborhood’s first black family. In 2009, the roles are reversed when a young white couple buys the lot in what is now a predominantly black neighborhood, signaling a new wave of gentrification. In both instances, a community showdown takes place, pitting race against real estate with this home as the battleground.