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Race and Real Estate in Clybourne Park

  • A poster for the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Clybourne Park.
    A poster for the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Clybourne Park.
  • A scene from the production of Clybourne Park at New York's Walter Kerr Theatre. Photo by Nathan Johnson.
    A scene from the production of Clybourne Park at New York's Walter Kerr Theatre. Photo by Nathan Johnson.

Location: Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts

October 03, 2013
The Drama Department will take an intimate new approach to Bruce Norris’s provocative  comedy when it brings it, and the audience, to the Decker Theatre Stage.

CHESTERTOWN, MD—On Thursday, October 3, the Washington College Drama Department opens the first-ever collegiate performance of Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park. Directed by Professor Dale Daigle, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play will be staged in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 6, at 1:30 p.m.  

Clybourne Park is a provocative comedy about race, class, and real estate. Act One opens in 1959, when a black family moves into a predominantly white Chicago neighborhood.  In Act Two, the roles are reversed: in the same house, 50 years later, a black neighborhood fights gentrification. The result is what New York Times critic Ben Brantley described as a “sharp-witted, sharp-toothed comedy of American uneasiness.” 

“The play sets up familiar stereotypes and totally explodes them,” says director Daigle. Fittingly, so does the College’s production of Clybourne Park. The performance will represent an innovative approach to Norris’s work, replacing previous productions’ emphasis on the set with a stronger focus on the themes and characters. In this original take, the play will feature a pared-down set and onstage seating for the audience.

Clybourne Park looks at a lot of important cultural issues that we face in America today,” says Professor Laura Eckelman, a new member of the Drama faculty who is the production’s lighting designer. “Instead of putting the whole house on stage, we want to explore the interplay between public and private relationships. With the onstage seating, the audience is put in the position of the community and is able to watch the character interactions play out in a more intimate setting.”

The inventive production is entirely student-acted and will feature performances from Nicole Capobianco ’16, Dominic LaGrotta ’16, Obella Obbo ’14, Phaedra Scott ’14, Matt Ridge ’15, Jesse Sengstacke ’16, and Sean Syme ’16. Clybourne Park also features the scenic and costuming talents of noted designers Aaron Mastin and Jen Kirschman, whose credits include the Oscar-winning film Lincoln, the HBO miniseries John Adams, and several short films.  Tamayo Kamimura ’15 and Mike Liberto ’14 serve as assistant directors, and Amanda Klute ’16 and Emily Summers ’16 are the stage managers.

Admission is $5, or $3 for students. Because of the limited on-stage seating, reservations are strongly recommended. Call 410-778-7835 or e-mail [email protected]. The Gibson Center for the Arts is located on the Washington College campus, 300 Washington Avenue.


photos by Paul Gillespie

Last modified on Oct. 3rd, 2013 at 4:28pm by .