“Clybourne Park” Touches on Race and Community at SNAP

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February 28th, 2013

Omaha, NE — Last year’s Tony winner for Best Play is being presented by Snap Productions through March 24th.

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Cast member Noah Diaz says that on the surface, Clybourne Park appears to be simply a “race play”, but a deeper look into the script reveals much more.

“Yes it is about race but it is also about community. Obviously segregation in the 50s. Is there segregation in contemporary day? Using race and using the idea of private property. What is yours? What is your neighborhood? What is your house? It really is touching on a lot of topics.”

From Left: James Wright, Echelle Childers, Noah Diaz, and Craig Bond.

From Left: James Wright, Echelle Childers, Noah Diaz, and Craig Bond.

Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park is a brash yet humorous expansion on Lorraine Hansberry’s classic play A Raisin in the Sun. The show provides audiences with differing perspectives on race, property ownership, and concept of community. Act one is set in 1959 where a white family finds out they are selling their house to a black couple. The potential sale causes backlash from some in the neighborhood who think property values will fall from allowing a black couple to reside in the middle-class Chicago area.

Act two bring us to the same house 50 years later in 2009, where a white family now looks to purchase and destroy the home in the now gentrified community to build a new one in its place. The black family selling the house shows hesitation and as tensions mount, the same issues from 50 years ago reemerge louder than ever. Though the play might seem to be a downtrodden heavy drama, Diaz asserts that what makes the play so impactful is the humor.

“It is hilarious. I first read the play and there’s a lot of talking and sometimes its kinda hard to read but it really wasn’t until these last weeks of rehearsals that we were like, ‘You guys, this is kind of hilarious,’ because these characters mean everything they say. They are wholeheartedly ‘This is what we believe!’ and the audience can get a sense of “No, that is awful. You shouldn’t feel that.’ But the characters are so firm in their beliefs and it’s hilarious.”

The comedic moments, Diaz says, provide a filter for the audience to experience what would otherwise be a very difficult and emotional situation.

“You need that comic relief or it is just a bunch of derogatory terms just being thrown everywhere. You need that levity.”

Diaz hopes that audiences will experience the show for themselves and gain new perspective on how we all aspire for a better life for ourselves and those we care for.

‘I think it’s a play the really should be seen…it’s remarkable to see how far society has come.”

Clybourne Park runs through March 24th at Snap Productions’ performance space at 3225 California Street. For more information visit snapproductions.com

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