Long Wharf Theatre Brings Back SPARK Program for CLYBOURNE PARK's First Rehearsal, 4/9


In the late 1950s and early 1960s the city of New Haven went through an unprecedented process of "urban renewal," a governmental effort that changed the landscape of the city, wiped away entire neighborhoods and brought increased attention to the wide ranging effects of gentrification.

This May, a biting and moving satire engages those issues in a way designed to offer far more questions than answers. Long Wharf Theatre presents the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Clybourne Park on the Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck Mainstage from May 8 through June 2, 2013.

In conjunction with the play, the theatre is offering the third season of SPARK: a program led by Associate Artistic Director Eric Ting that explores the "sparks" that result from the act of theatre-making. This unique opportunity engages audiences through a series of four 90-minute discussions with artists, as well as unprecedented access to the rehearsal process. "This will be an intimate and extended conversation about theatre with 50 of our patrons spanning the length and breadth of the production-from first rehearsal through opening," Ting said. "I'm particularly excited to be doing this around Clybourne Park, a new American classic that has had a profound impact on audiences across the country."

Participants will get an insider's perspective on the process of bringing Clybourne Park to the stage, meet the cast and creative team at the very beginning of their journey, participate in a discussion with the actor's about their craft, and witness an actual technical rehearsal on Long Wharf's mainstage. "What we've endeavored to do with SPARK is illuminate the inspirations and frictions involved in creating a work of drama," Ting said. "Think of it as 'Reality Theatre.'"

About the play: In 1959, we meet a group of neighbors trying unsuccessfully to talk their friends out of selling their home to a black family. Sixty years later, a white family attempts to move into the now predominantly African-American neighborhood. Inspired by the classic A Raisin in the Sun and described as "an ingenious, audacious lightning rod of a play" by Entertainment Weekly, this provocative and funny play delves into America's complicated relationship with race through sharp humor and deep perception.

Access to this unique lecture series costs $50 and includes a copy of the play. This nominal fee supports Long Wharf Theatre's continuing mission to produce new works for the American stage. Space is limited for this unique opportunity, so reserve your spot now.

All events are 90-minutes long and begin at 7 p.m., unless otherwise noted (*).

SPARK #1 (4/9/13) - First Rehearsal. Participants are invited to attend a portion of first rehearsal for Clybourne Park, to hear director Eric Ting's thoughts on the production, meet the cast and hear design presentations.

SPARK #2 (4/23/13) - The Actor's Craft. What truly is involved in the art and craft of acting? How does an actor take raw emotion and focus it through the text they are given, all to shape a life on stage? This master class will offer a glimpse into the rigors of creating true characters on stage.

SPARK #3* (5/4/13, 11:00am - 1pm) - Technical Rehearsal. Enjoy a rare opportunity to sit behind the scenes of a technical rehearsal on Long Wharf's main stage. Watch as all the pieces begin to come together: the actors' craft, the designers' vision, the playwright's voice.

SPARK #4* (5/21/13, 5:00pm - 6:30pm) - Post-Mortem. A look back at the journey of Clybourne Park - the inspirations, the challenges, the revelations and the unexpected pleasures.

For more information, visit www.longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.

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