The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park is now performing one of the most thought provoking and enlightening plays of it’s time , Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park. The play was awarded in 2011 Pulitzer for Best Drama, and in 2012 a Tony Award for Best Play. The remake of this outstanding show currently is running at the Playhouse from January 18 through Feb 16, 2014.
This drama takes place over 50 year period from 1959 to 2009 in urban neighborhood of Chicago Clybourne Park. The perceptions and beliefs, values of the residents will be challenged as the community evolves and changes over time. Issues such as racism, economic class, empathy for your neighbors burdens, will be discussed. The time old question that the play asks also is who is one’s neighbor?
The story is of a middle aged couple Bev and Russ which are experiencing a
time of grieving and made a decision to move from all white middle income community of Clybourne Park. The couple had experienced alot of recent painful events now it was time to move on. They had a son that just returned home from the Korean War who was feeling hopeless and depressed, eventually he gave up and just committed suicide. He was unable to find a job, and instead of getting encouragement or help from his neighbors he was shunned. The neighbors are now coming to Bev and Russ because the Younger family that bought the house is black. Some neighbors express fears of crime, declining property values with a changing racial mix. This angered Russ, he felt they abandoned his son in his time of need. A person’s neighbors or friendships are not determined by the color of the skin but is the person good and will he or she be there when you need them.
Now 50 years later the community is now all black and a white couple wants to move to Clybourne Park and tear down historic structures to make way for a expensive new home. The current residents fear that the influence of money will take away the strong community values that neighbors have. Many cities are struggling with these concepts of change as urban renewal takes place and people of different ethnicities and incomes and values migrating change the face of where we live.
The cast of Clybourne Park were brilliant in it’s presentation of this timely story.
Wilbur Edwin Henry was highly spirited and passionate in his role as Russ I could feel the frustration of the character.
Rex Young great in his delivery as Karl expressing the racism and bigotry that existed.
Tickets to see this show range in price of $30 to $75. More information on showing can be found at www.cincyplay.com.