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Clybourne Park
a Drama
CATEGORY : DRAMA
by Bruce Norris

COMPANY : Merely Players Presents [WEBSITE]
VENUE : College Street Playhouse
ID# 5112

SHOWING : July 21, 2017 - August 06, 2017

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

CLYBOURNE PARK explodes in two outrageous acts set fifty years apart. Act One takes place in 1959, as white community leaders anxiously try to stop the sale of a home to a black family. Act Two is set in the same house in the present day, as the now predominantly African-American neighborhood battles to hold its ground in the face of gentrification. Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Joanie McElroy
Bev/Kathy Diane Dicker
Karl/Steve Greg Fitzgerald
Albert/Kevin Darrell D Grant
BetsyLindsey Brandi Kilgore
Russ/Dan Steve Pryor
Francine/Lena Parris Sarter
Jim/Tom/Kenneth Raleigh Wade
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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A Raisin in the Park
by playgoer
Monday, August 14, 2017
3.5
Bruce Norris’ "Clybourne Park" doesn’t hold up as well as Lorraine Hansberry’s "A Raisin in the Sun." There’s a cleverness to his perspective on Hansberry’s work, seeing things from a white perspective at the time of Hansberry’s play (when the first black family is moving into the neighborhood) and in the modern day (as a white family moves in to gentrify the neighborhood). But the repeated discussions on geographical issues and the series of off-color jokes pale on repeated hearing. I’ve seen the play before (at Aurora), and having seen the play once robs subsequent productions of their power.

That’s not to say that the Merely Players Presents production fails the play in any way. Director Joanie McElroy has gotten good performances out of all her actors, all of whom play at least two separate roles. Character choices make the distinctions clear between roles. Gregory Fitzgerald, who plays the "villain" in both acts, doesn’t delineate two particularly different characters, and Raleigh Wade’s first act character doesn’t ring as particularly true, but clarity of action is never a problem. Mr. Wade’s obviously deep-felt emotion as his final character rings strong and true. All the others do fine work throughout.

Technically, the show is not overwhelming. The stage set-up seems to have been inherited from Lionheart’s "The Foreigner" and "The Children’s Hour," just painted black with wood-style trim (Katy Clarke, set painter). Nancy Keener’s props nicely set up the two time periods of the show, enhanced by Rose Bianco’s costumes and Brooke Wade’s wigs and hairstyles. Rial Ellsworth’s sound design and Gary White’s lighting design provide perfectly adequate support for the action. The play itself does the heavy lifting; the technical aspects serve the play, rather than being a delight in and of themselves.

There’s some nice work onstage in "Clybourne Park," highlighted by the always-impressive work of Parris Sarter. Ms. McElroy also creates a consistently superior product, and this one is no exception. It’s just not a play that I find riveting, or even particularly entertaining, on repeated viewing. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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