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Clybourne Park

At the Walter Kerr Theatre located at 219 West 48th Street. It opens on April 19, 2012 and plays until November 8, 2012. It runs two hours and five minutes with one intermission.

The play premiered off Broadway at the Playwright Horizons where it ran from January 29, 2010 to March 21, 2010. It then premiered in London at the Royal Court Theatre from August 20, 2010 to October 6, 2010 where it transferred to London's West End an played at the Wyndham's Theatre from January 28, 2011 to May 7, 2011. The London production won the Olivier Award for best new play. It also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2011.

The play takes place at 406 Clybourne Street in Chicago, Illinois.

Act One takes place in 1959. Bev (Christina Kirk) has sold her house and is in the middle of packing. Her husband Russ (Frank Wood) is sitting in a chair reading National Geographic. Francene (Crystal A. Dickinson) who is African American and their maid, has been with the family for a long time. She is helping Bev pack. The house was sold because their son killed himself in the upstairs room. He was a Koren War Veteran.

Bev has their minister Jim (Brendan Griffin) come to talk to her husband. It seems he has been cursing up a storm. Russ wants nothing to do with it. He tells the minister to go F--k Off.

Their neighbor Karl (Jeremy Shamos) and his pregnant, deaf wife Betsy (Annie Pausse) come to visit.

Francene husband Albert (Damon Gupton) comes to pick her up. He volunteers to help bring a trunk down from the second floor. With the help of Francene who isn't to happy about it.

Karl has come to plead with Russ not to sell the house. It seems that an African American family has purchase the house. Karl says once this happen people will start sell their houses lowering the property value for the rest of them that stay. He tells Russ he has sixty days to cancel the sale. Russ refuses.

Act Two takes place in 2009. Fifty years have passed. A white couple have purchased the house and are in the process of having the house razed. There is friction between the people who now living in Clybourne Park and the new owners. Lindsay (Annie) and her husband Steve (Jeremy) who are the new owners and their lawyer Kathy (Christina) are reading from documents which they hope will resolve the problems with their neighbors. It seems they want to build a house that is bigger than the others houses in the neighborhood.

The other couple Lena (Crystal) and her husband Nevin (Damon) are African Americans. Their lawyer Tom (Brendan) is trying to get across to him that they want the neighborhood to have the same continuity and not have this house stand out like a sore thumb.

Tensions builds and tempers fly. Racial implications are implied and nothing is solved.

The cast members play two different roles. One act they may be mild mannered and in the other be very strong willed. Which ever role they play each actor is outstanding. Especially note worthy is Annie Paisseas as the deaf wife and modern wife both forceful in a quite way. Crystal A. Dickinson as the maid who has to hide the way she feels in order to keep her job to the modern African American women who can and will speak what's on her mind. Jeremy Shamos both parts are a weasel but in a different way.

Frank Wood, Damon Gupton, Christina Kirk and Brendan Griffin all play both parts differently but effectively that we believe they are two different people.

This is a mind thinking play and worth seeing. There is more to the story then is in this review. The two under lining themes are that times don't change on some people's attitude toward African Americans and War Soldiers.

review ny Rozanna Radakovich.

Photos by Annazor. 

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