Clybourne Park - Differences that Divide
Directed by Janet Wright, Clybourne Park is the Vancouver premiere production of the award-winning play by Bruce Norris. Set in the neighbourhood of Clybourne Park in Chicago, Illinois, the play's first act happens in 1959 and the second 50 years later in 2009. The play explores the issues of race and housing through an exchange of all-too-human emotions. It's funny, it's sad, it's shocking, it's engaging and very very witty.
The story involves the history of one house in Clybourne Park. In 1959, the house is in a white neighbourhood and being sold by a white family to a black family (much to the chagrin of the white neighbours). Then in 2009, the same house (now in a black neighbourhood) is being rebuilt by a white family (much to the chagrin of the black neighbours). Le plus ca change, le plus c'est la meme chose.
Playing different characters in each act, every member of the seven-person cast is excellently cast. Deborah Williams is a particular standout as both Bev (the 1950s white housewife) and Kathy (the2009 real estate lawyer). With respect to the design elements, set designer Ted Roberts has outdone himself in creating the house and his work is greatly enhanced by Martha Sibthorpe's subtle yet effective lighting design. Barbara Clayden's costumes help ground the story in each time period, as does the sound design by Brian Linds.
Clybourne Park is playing now until October 7 at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. If you want to be entertained and challenged by a superb production of a contemporary award-winning play, then don't miss this show.