Clybourne Park is a spin off from Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 classic A Raisin in the Sun. It tackles the issue of race, community, social status as it relates to housing and real estate.
ACT ONE, set in 1959, chronicles the life of Bev and Russ, a family white, on the verge of leaving their home in the predominantly white community of Clybourne Park. They had decided to sell their house for less than the value due to their eagerness to leave the horrible memories of their son’s suicide behind. Despite the beautiful décor and neatness of the living room set, it was a far contrast from the hostility and depression that lied within the walls. The dialogue between Bev and Russ at the beginning of the play was somewhat strained and harsh although there was a hint of playfulness in their tone as they discussed the meaning of “Neapolitan”. Bev simple plaid dress signified her role as a housewife. The emergence of Francine, the couples black maid, confirmed that they were an affluent family of high social status.
The hostility and the tension in the room became even more evident when Jim, the local pastor visits the family to offer counselling in dealing with the suicidal death of their son. Russ is however reluctant to discuss his feelings as he believed that the community was unsympathetic and had turned their backs against them. The arrival of Karl Linder and his deaf wife Betsy, a few minutes, only added fuel to the fiery situation. Karl Linder, having failed to dissuade the Youngers from moving into Clybourne Park, had come to convince the couple to invalidate the sale of the house.
Russ and Bev are, however, reluctant to back out of the sale, but Karl is adamant that racial mixing will be bad for both blacks and whites. To further bring his point across, he invites Francine and her husband Albert into the discussion although they were reluctant to do so. The discussion eventually leads to an all-out explosion of tempers in the household and Russ runs everyone...