Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris at Centaur Theatre

Clybourne Park

When the play first hit stages in 2009, it garnered almost every honour the theatre world could bestow upon it, including the Tony Award, and the Evening Standard and Laurence Olivier awards (UK) for Best Play. Actor and director, Ellen David, directs this Quebec English-language premiere.

“Superb, elegantly written, and hilarious.”
– The New Yorker
Clybourne Park takes audiences back in time to 1959 Chicago in an all-white, middle class neighbourhood. Spinning off of Lorraine Hansberry’s seminal play, A Raisin in the Sun, Bev and Russ have sold their house to a black family, upsetting the ‘social order’ and creating havoc among their friends. Act Two fast-forwards to 2009 where the tables are turned as a white couple attempts to buy and tear down the very same house to erect a more pretentious home, now in an all-black community, triggering identical issues fifty years later. Clybourne Park looks at prejudice, property, and political correctness, then and now, in a blisteringly funny and timely satire.

“an evening of ebullient provocation
– The Guardian (UK)
“What I love about this play,” said Centaur Artistic and Executive Director, Roy Surette, “is its theatricality, starting out in the 50s in the first act and then abruptly plunging us into the same setting fifty years later. Also, every day, the relevancy of this play and its themes become more significant.”

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?

“When I saw Black Theatre Workshop’s 1979 production of A Raisin in the Sun, it represented exactly the kind of theatre I wanted to do,” said director Ellen David. “When I read Clybourne Park thirty years later, it had the same effect on me; it perfectly exemplifies why we do theatre. This play came out just as Obama was entering office. Its themes of racism, ownership and community were hot topics at that time and are even more so in the current political climate. The last line of Langston Hughes’ poem, Harlem, from which A Raisin in the Sun got its name, stuck with me as a powerful image for Clybourne Park, which to me depicts what happens when the dream explodes.”

 “Clybourne Park will offend you, delight you and […] break your heart.”
Close to 120 artists auditioned for this production, in which every actor has at least two roles. Matthew Gagnon, making his Centaur Theatre debut, is joined by Centaur familiar face, Marcel Jeannin (God of Carnage, The Comedy of Errors) and former Montrealer, Liana Montoro (4,000 Miles). The cast also includes Lisa Bronwyn Moore, first seen at Centaur in the 90s, Eleanor Noble, last seen in Social Studies, and musical theatre and dramatic actor, Kwasi Songui. Rounding out the team is Harry Standjofski, well-known at Centaur for fantastic annual contribution to Urban Tales.

Veteran designer for theatre, ballet and opera, Michael Eagan (God of Carnage, Age of Arousal), designs the vintage and contemporary costumes and the same family home in two different decades. Guy Simard, who has designed more than five hundred opera and theatre productions, provides the lighting. In demand across Canada, Michael Sinclair (Venus in Fur) returns to Centaur to stage manage, assisted by a familiar face behind the scenes, Jacynthe Lalonde (Constellations, Last Night at the Gayety). Laurent McCuaig-Pitre, seen recently in his solo show, A Perfect Picture, at this year’s Wildside Festival, is Ms. David’s assistant.

Sunday Chat-up: April 9th at 12:30pm prior to the matinée performance and presented in collaboration with the Montreal Gazette. Join Editor in Chief, Lucinda Chodan, as we discuss gentrification in Montreal. Is it possible to learn from our past mistakes? From other cities? What are the possible solutions and examples of living together in our ever-changing city?
Admission is FREE and complimentary coffee and biscotti will be served, courtesy of Centaur Theatre’s Season Sponsor, Bonaparte Restaurant.

Talk Backs: Join director, Ellen David, and the cast following the evening performance on Thursday April 13th and the matinée presentation on Sunday April 16th.

Production Dates:
Previews:            April 4 & 5                        8:00 PM
Opening:             April 6                              8:00 PM
Evenings:            Tues. through Sat.           8:00 PM
Matinées:            Sat. and Sun.                   2:00 PM
Wed. Apr. 12                    1:00 PM
Dark:                   Monday                             – – – – – –
Closing:               Sun. April 30                     2:00 PM

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