‘Clybourne Park’ explores race relations in surprising ways

in Community by

Photo above: Members of the “Clybourne Park” production are shown here. Photo provided.

Local theatre company Coastal Stage Productions, CSP, one of the area’s top producers of quality short-run theater projects, returns to area venues with the groundbreaking, Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning production “Clybourne Park.”  

“Clybourne Park” is a fascinating, insightful, and often terrifically funny look at the way we talk about, or avoid talking about, race in America, according to a release. 

When a white couple wants to buy a home in the gentrifying, all-black neighborhood of Clybourne Park, Chicago, they unknowingly reenact the same tense drama, and barely suppressed hostility that occurred 50 years earlier in the same house.

The play takes Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark drama “A Raisin in the Sun” as its jumping-off point. 

Act One opens in 1959, as a white couple sells their home to a black family, causing uproar in their middle-class neighborhood; Act Two finds the same house, in 2009, changing hands again. 

And, while the stakes have changed over the years, the debate remains strikingly similar as neighbors wage a hilarious and horrifying pitched battle over territory and legacy that reveals just how far our ideas about race and gentrification have evolved — or, have they? 

One agile cast of local talent — Laphanie Banks, Jayme Brinson, Michael Burgess, Henry Dreier, Mark Erickson, Toye Hickman, Dan Herrin and Christine Grefe — play the two sets of characters.

Director Luke Cleveland reflected on the script. “It’s edgy, inflammatory, hilarious, contemporary, outrageous and frank — and ultimately, truly moving. It beats with a heart that is deeply human.” 

The production is rated PG-13 for adult language.

“Clybourne Park,” presented by Coastal Stage Productions, opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, and Saturday, Aug. 26; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27, at The Shed Event Venue, 809 Paris Ave., Port Royal.

A catered Dinner Theatre option is available at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26.

“Clybourne Park” will also be performed at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, and Saturday, Sept. 9; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, at Main Street Theatre, 3000 Main St., Hilton Head. 

General admission tickets are $20. The reserved Dinner Theatre is $48.

For tickets for all events, visit www.brownpapertickets.com, the box office or for more information call 843-717-2175. 

Coastal Stage Productions is a high quality, regionally traveling theatre company based in Ridgeland.