What if the walls of certain rooms could serve as records of the lives that played out within them? What if you were to somehow observe the record those walls made of the conversations of one family in 1959, and then compare it with conversations had within the same walls, say, fifty years later? This is exactly the premise Bruce Norris plays with in his Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner, Clybourne Park.
The intermission that separates acts one and two of the play represent a fifty-year span, and while the setting of each act remains the same, the characters that occupy it and the general well-being of that setting change in the ways only fifty years’ time could. But the conversations that take place within those walls remain eerily the same.
In act one, the family members selling the house, Bev and Russ, have a conversation about the word “Neapolitan” meaning not only a delicious ice cream combination but also a resident of Naples, Italy. After a heated debate that draws in a visitor as well as Bev’s “friend” Francine (who actually works for Bev) over what citizens of certain cities are called, Bev comes to the (perhaps purposely) oblivious conclusion that, “It’s nice, in a way, to know we all have our place.”
And hence the discussion that is at the crux of Clybourne Park—are we all, essentially, still segregated?—and the discussion we hope will continue between the living room walls of audience members. To spark more of that discussion, Pioneer Theatre Company is hosting a free panel discussion on Thursday, February 21, 2013, entitled “The Price of Change: Neighborhood Identity in Clybourne Park and Salt Lake City.” Spearheaded by the dramaturgical team of our production of Clybourne Park, Sydney Cheek-O’Donnell and Martine Kei Green-Rogers, and including community members ______, the panel invites guests for a free discussion of the themes brought up in Clybourne Park; themes of race, gender and generations against the background of where we all chose to live—or, where we don’t.The Utah premiere of Clybourne Park opens at Pioneer Theatre Company Friday, February 15th. More show info can be found here. Tickets can be purchased here, or by calling the PTC Box Office at 801-581-6961.
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