CLYBOURNE PARK Plays 710 Main Theatre, 11/8-12/1
This landmark satire is simultaneously a prequel, sequel, and modern commentary on the American theatre classic A Raisin in The Sun, spanning fifty years in the history of one much-contested house in a constantly evolving suburb.
The show, presented by 710 Main Theatre, produced by Road Less Traveled Productions, and directed by Scott Behrend, will be featured in the Frey Electric Season from November 8th-December 1st, 2013. Clybourne Park will star RLTP Ensemble Members Lisa Vitrano, Bob Grabowski, Matt Witten, and Barry Williams as well Danica Riddick, Diane Curley, and Dave Mitchell. Tickets will go on sale Friday, September 13th, 2013. For tickets ($35 general/$17 student Fri-Sun/$5 Mighty Taco Talkback student Thurs.), call 1-800-745-3000, go to ticketmaster.com, or visit Shea's Ticket Office. For group bookings (15+), call 716-829-1154.
The play opens in the year 1959. Housewife Bev scurries frantically to prepare for the "big move." Anything that she can't take from her Clybourne Street home to the new house across town, well, she wonders to herself, maybe her loyal cleaning lady, Francine, would like it? Bev's husband Russ remains inert on the couch, no help at all, fixated only on consuming a carton of ice cream. He's so eager to leave the house that he and Bev have spent their entire adult lives in - the house where they raised their only child - that, mentally, he's long since checked out. Unexpected guests arrive for a visit: the chipper local clergyman, who is concerned for Russ' well-being, and a pair of nervous homeowners, mobilized to discourage Russ and Bev's departure...it's not just that Karl and his wife will miss their neighbors...the community is concerned about the arrival of the new residents, who (word has it) hail from... gasp... Hamilton Park (and, as everyone knows, people from Hamilton Park are, well... different).
The play shifts to 50 years later. The tables have turned. Clybourne Street and the surrounding neighborhood now look very different. The community is equally tight-knit, however, and so the arrival of Steve and Lindsey, two young suburbanites, is as notable as those who arrived from Hamilton 50 years prior. Lindsey and Steve are married, expecting a child, and chomping at the bit both to move closer to their urban careers and take advantage of the affordable and serviceable homes in the first-ring suburb that is Clybourne. Lena and Kevin, the current owners of the house and to whom Russ and Bev sold in 1959, are happy to sell, just so long as some technical concerns about the easement and the dimensions of the property can be resolved...
But an off-handed comment spurs second thoughts, then revelations about the property's history, and then something almost resembling a debate about - gentrification? Or general cultural prejudice? Or, well, about something... Both of the couples are, initially, too polite to commit to the exact topic. Gradually, though, awkwardness becomes unease, and conversational floodgates open. What follows is a game of one-upsmanship - a volley of off-color jokes and outrageous statements, guaranteed to tickle, insult, compromise, and/or offend every character - and every audience member. When the conversational smoke clears, we are left with a picture of long-buried traumas bound to forever haunt anyone who tries to own this house on Clybourne, indiscriminate of race or class. We are left prompted to address the issues...or, like the house, be forever inhibited by them.
Clybourne Park is a ferocious expose of segregation, white flight, and ever-shifting cultural insecurities, calculated by turns to amuse and to disturb. The play makes us laugh, while challenging us to face reality and, should we be inspired, to find common ground. Clybourne Park is the winner of nearly every imaginable major drama prize, including the Tony and Olivier Awards and the Pulitzer Prize. Though the play is set in Chicago, it's a story sure to resonate with Buffalonians...perhaps it allows us just enough distance to be able to see clearly the vital issues we, too, face in our community, at home. RLTP is very proud to present this important production at the 710 Main Street Theater, opening it up to an even larger audience and as part of its 10th anniversary season.
For information about the production, please refer to www.clybourneparkbuffalo.com. RLTP encourages guests to "Tell Your Story Now..." by allowing the visitor to submit stories about their past or present neighborhood in relevance to the topics and themes of the play.