By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
The San Diego REPertory Theater will present “Clybourne Park,” the award-winning comedy about race and real estate in America, Jan. 12 to Feb. 10 on The Lyceum Stage, 79 Horton Plaza.
Written by Bruce Norris and directed by Sam Woodhouse, “Clybourne Park” tells the story of one house over 50 years, and the complicated race issues that surround it.
Act One is set in 1959, in the dream home of the Younger family in Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” where a white couple ignites controversy when they sell their bungalow to the neighborhood’s first black family.
Act Two takes place in the same house, but 50 years later, with the reverse situation. Now, in 2009, a white couple is planning to purchase and demolish the house in the now all-black neighborhood, causing distress and anger among the neighbors.
While “Clybourne Park” boasts a talented cast made up of both longtime REP actors and newcomers, Woodhouse said one of the most important characters is the house itself.
“This is a piece that directly addresses the things people don’t voice about subjects of race,” said Woodhouse. “You’ll think, ‘Did I actually just hear people say that?’”
Despite the heavy nature of the issues, Woodhouse insists the play is very much a comedy. “It doesn’t mean that it is silly, but it’s funny,” he said. “The elephant in the room is articulated.”
Woodhouse added that the script is also “incredibly smart and witty,” something backed up by its multiple award wins, including the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play, a 2011 Pulitzer Prize, and a 2011 Olivier Award.
In addition to the play, San Diego REP is offering discussions prior to performances, 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. These events include a discussion about white privilege 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, excerpts from “A Raisin in the Sun,” 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, and “Sam’s Salon: An Honest Discussion of Race in America,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24.
Tickets are $18-$52 at (619) 544-1000 or www.sdrep.org