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This is probably the first play I've ever seen that I REALLY HEATED.
A Raisin in the Sun
The Madison Repertory Theatre has produced many plays by African American
playwrights recently, such as last year's From the Mississippi Delta, but their
most recent, Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun is certainly one of the
The play starts in a darkened living room. Ruth Younger wakes her family on a
Friday morning. Her father-in-law has recently died, and the family is awaiting
the arrival of the insurance money. Her husband, Walter, has plans to use it to
buy a liquor store, but wife doesn't believe he belongs in business. Beneatha,
Walter's sister daughter, hopes to use the money for her tuition for medical
school. Walter's mother, Lena (Mama), plans to use the money for a house for the
family. On top of all this, Ruth has discovered that she is pregnant.
In an effort to find a true identity, Beneatha has shunned her mother's
religious beliefs and has taken an interest in Asagai, a Nigerian student.
Asagai brings her a tribal drum recording and a robe from his country. Beneatha
is also being pursued by another suitor. George Murchison, a student belonging
to the upper class also has an interest in her, and regards her embracement of
African culture as childish.
After the money arrives, Mama leaves to "take care of some business." When she
returns, she announces just what it was that she did do: she has bought the
family a house...in Clybourne Park, an all-white neighborhood. Mama then
entrusts the rest of the money to Walter, to invest in his sister's education,
and to put the rest into a savings account under his name. Walter promises his
son Travis a great future, and promptly invests it in his liquor store.
While packing, the family is visited by Karl Linder from the Clyborne Park
Community Improvement Association, and a white man. Linder explains that the
Younger family might not be welcomed in Clybourne Park, and might be better off
living in a black neighborhood. "It has nothing to do with racial prejudice," he
explains. To make matters worse, Bobo, Walter's friend comes to say that the
third member of their team, who had been entrusted with all the money is gone.
In desperation, Walter calls Linder to buy the house back, but after a talk with
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Overall, I think that A Raisin in the Sun is an excellent play. The actors all
have impressive credentials, Ronald R. Mc Call (Joseph Asagai) has made numerous
television and movie appearances such as Fried Green Tomatoes, I'll Fly Away,
and In the Heat of the Night, as has Cedric Young (Walter Lee Younger), who has
been in Ghost Writer, Law and Order, As the World Turns, Backdraft, The Paper,
Home Alone II, and Rapid Fire. My only qualm about the play was that Travis,
played by Michael Tyler Davis and Derek Stanley acted a bit stiff and wooden,
but that's almost to be expected of such a young actor.
With its lighthearted view of a very serious situation, A Raisin in the Sun is
definitely worth seeing.