Theatre UCF opens Clybourne Park on Thursday, Sept. 22, in UCF’s Black Box theatre. The play, written by Bruce Norris, runs through Sunday, Oct. 2.
Clybourne Park is set both before and after the events in Lorraine Hansberry’s classic play A Raisin in the Sun, which chronicles the experiences of a black family making its home in Chicago’s South Side in the 1950s. Winner of the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play, Clybourne Park focuses on residents of the same house in the now predominantly black neighborhood as they fight against the advances of gentrification.
Because the first and second acts take place 50 years apart from each other, the play calls for the cast to play different characters in the acts, which requires the students in the roles to develop two stage personas for one play. Sydney Walker, a senior in the BFA acting program, has an added challenge on top of developing the characters: both of the women she portrays are pregnant.
To get used to the movement and mannerisms of an expectant mother, Walker has been wearing a “pregnancy belly” throughout the rehearsal process. “I’ve never had to wear something like it before. It gets kind of itchy so I get a little annoyed with it, but that works because I’m supposed to be eight months pregnant and I hear that carrying a baby is not exactly a very comfortable process!”
While race is one of the most visible themes in the play, dramaturg Tommy Heller, a junior in the BA theatre studies program, explains that there are other deeper ideas that the production addresses.
“Because Clybourne Park is so closely associated with A Raisin in the Sun, audiences most often assume that it’s about racism. While the play certainly deals with that inequality, it is not the sole purpose of the play. The play uses race as just one of the many ways in which people mistreat each other. Every character in the play—even the ones we believe are morally right—has flaws, which can make the audience feel uncomfortable at times.”
As a complement to the full production of Clybourne Park, there will be two free staged readings of A Raisin in the Sun.
“We are presenting this reading to provide an educationally enriching opportunity for not only our audience members, but also for Theatre UCF students,” said Elizabeth Horn, theatre assistant professor directing the reading. “Bruce Norris wrote Clybourne Park 50 years later as a spin-off to A Raisin in the Sun. Norris’ text contains many of the same themes, and looking at these plays back-to-back can provide a deeper understanding of both works.”
The readings of A Raisin in the Sun will take place on the set of Clybourne Park on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 2 p.m. and Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m.. Tickets for the readings are free, but required for entry.
Tickets for Clybourne Park are $20 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets for both productions are available at www.theatre.ucf.edu or by calling or visiting the box office Monday-Friday, noon-5 p.m., at 407-823-1500.
For more information about Theatre UCF and the UCF School of Performing Arts, visit https://performingarts.cah.ucf.edu.
Production at a Glance
By Bruce Norris
Directed by David Reed
Sept. 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25, Oct. 2 at 2 p.m.
Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play
A Reading of A Raisin in the Sun
By Lorraine Hansberry
Directed by Elizabeth Horn
Sept. 24 at 2 p.m.
Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m