A RAISIN IN THE SUN

by Lorraine Hansberry

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SEPT. 7th - OCT. 1st

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 The Nebraska Arts Council, a state agency, has supported this arts event through its Matching Grants Program funded by the Nebraska legislature and The National Endowment for The Arts, and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.  Visit www.nebraskaartscouncil.org for information on how the Nebraska Arts Council can assist your organization.

Brigit Saint Brigit will open its 25th anniversary season with Lorraine Hansberry's 1959, groundbreaking American masterpiece A Raisin in The Sun.  The twenty-nine-year-old dramatist's play resonates as powerfully today as it did when it premiered on Broadway almost 60 years ago with Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, and Louis Gossett.

THE STORY  

"In a 1950s slum in Chicago’s Southside, fifth and sixth generations of an African American family dream of escape, of dignity. A $10,000 life insurance policy, the legacy of the black patriarch who's worked himself to death to provide it, may present a way out.  The recently-widowed matriarch and her daughter-in-law want a safe home for their children; a son/husband/father chafes against his low-paid, dead-end job, imagining his own business venture that will protect his family; a marriage cracks under financial pressures; a daughter/sister dares to imagine an educational path to become a doctor; a child wants to play outside, safely.

Harlem

BY LANGSTON HUGHES

What happens to a dream deferred?

 

      Does it dry up

      like a raisin in the sun?

      Or fester like a sore—

      And then run?

      Does it stink like rotten meat?

      Or crust and sugar over—

      like a syrupy sweet?

 

      Maybe it just sags

      like a heavy load.

 

      Or does it explode?

Will their dreams, in the words of poet Langston Hughes ("Harlem"), "'dry up/ like a raisin in the sun.../ Or [will they] explode?"

Lorraine Hansberry reveals, with laserlike, unflinching focus, the reality of the American black experience, yet at the same time, somehow senses and conveys the universal longing, frustration, and hope of all who imagine being included in the American Dream.

"As Hansberry once said: 'In order to create the universal, you must pay very great attention to the specific,' and this drama resonates with other lives similarly cramped by poverty… .The main focus, though, is firmly and deliberately on black experience… . The power and craft of the writing make A Raisin in the Sun as moving today as it was then. Entrenched attitudes about race make the challenges its characters face still relevant…" [The Guardian].

THE CAST

BSB is proud to feature an experienced and talented cast, including Kathy Tyree, TammyRa Jackson, Jason Gray, Regina Palmer, Brodhi McClymont, Stacy Hopkins, DJ Jones-Tyree, Aaryon Williams, and Kurt Sage.  Direction is a collaboration between Artistic Director Cathy Kurz and Patty Driscoll, Stage Management by Sabrina Harris.

CRITICAL ACCLAIM

"One of the handful of great American plays--it belongs in the inner circle, along with Death of A Salesman, Long Day's Journey into Night, and The Glass Menagerie"  (Washington Post).

 

"A classic, a play rooted in its own time that speaks through the years to our own . . . it reaches into the heart of everyone who sees it" (Chicago Tribune).

 

"Taking her title from Langston Hughes's poem 'Harlem,' Miss Hansberry . . . [is] a writer of unlimited compassion, believing that all people must be measured, as she put it, by both their 'hills and valleys' (Frank Rich, NYT).

 

"The theater critics, hurrying down the aisles under the pressure of deadline, paused at the rear of the Ethel Barrymore Theater. The date was March 11, 1959. For a few moments they stopped considering the words with which they would salute this poetically named play . . .. Instead, they watched the first-night audience deliver its own verdict: on its feet and willing to applaud, it seemed, for eternity" (Michael Anderson, NYT). 

BACKGROUND LINKS

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/03/07/theater/theater-a-landmark-lesson-in-being-black.html

 

Lorraine Hansberry Literary Trust:  http://lhlt.org/works/video/raisin-sun-2008

 

http://www.americanlegacymag.com/lorraine-hansberry/