Clybourne Park | Producing Artistic Director's Note

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René D. Copeland | In the Director's Chair

A few words from Clybourne Park's director, René D. Copeland...

Rene D. Copeland Producing Artistic Director of Clybourne ParkIs summer really over? It must be, because our exciting 2012 - 2013 season is upon us with our opening show: Clybourne Park! I don’t know when I’ve looked forward to a season more--every single show has something special about it, and if you want to know more about any of them I hope you’ll ask me. And if it seems to you that the summer was unusually short, you’re right. This year we are starting a month earlier than the last few years. This allows us to spread our performances more evenly throughout the year, giving you the chance to get your theatre fix twice in the fall, rather than just once. This way you won’t have to cram the majority of your theatre-going into the second half of the season. And starting our season earlier makes our final “production”, the Ingram New Works Festival, fall a little earlier, making it easy for you to come see the exciting work being done in our New Works Lab at the Festival before summer activities and travel kick in.

Speaking of easy, it was not a difficult decision to choose Clybourne Park for Nashville Rep. When I first read it I knew we would have to do it. Since then this play has won all the big awards--the Tony, the Pulitzer, and in Britain, the Olivier Award--and getting to launch our season with it just a few days after it finished its run on Broadway is especially sweet. This brilliant black comedy has been called “ferociously smart” and “a savagely funny and insightful time bomb”, and it’s no accident that critics use words laced with a sense of danger when describing the play. The playwright, Bruce Norris, has made it clear he’s out to stir things up, and his play is very intentionally provocative, centered on the core difficulty we continue to experience in our conversation about race. He uses a revered classic from 1959, A Raisin in the Sun, as his jumping off point, which tells the story of a black family in Chicago who buys a house in a white neighborhood, called Clybourne Park.

Act One of Clybourne Park finds us in 1959, at 406 Clybourne St., where the news is breaking that the purchasers of the home are not white. What could possibly go wrong? Fast forward fifty years for Act Two, and see how the situation has played out over time in that same neighborhood, where now it’s white home buyers who meet resistance. Questions about race and property are intertwined in a city--are we any better at talking about it now? How has it changed? Have we progressed? Where is Nashville’s “Clybourne Park”? Oh, and did I mention it’s a comedy? So. I’m confident you will have lively conversations about this play afterward, in the car on the way home or over drinks with your friends. If you have a minute, I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts with me. Drop me an email or post something on the Nashville Rep Facebook page. Your response to this play is really Act Three, and I hate to miss it! If you’re attending on a Friday night, stick around for the Talkback and tell me in person. We’re having a great time working on this play, and I look forward to sharing it with you.

Thanks for being here. We work hard every day to assure you’ll always find the Nashville Rep experience to be entertaining, stimulating, and valuable. I hope we’ll see you all season long!

Play Synopsis: Picking up where Lorraine Hansberry left us in A Raisin in the Sun, a white community in 1950s Chicago splinters over the black family about to move in. Fast-forward to our present day, and the same house represents very different demographics. Jokes fly and hidden agendas unfold as two vastly different generations of characters tip-toe the delicate dance of social politics, pitting race against real estate at the crux of two seminal events. These hilarious and horrifying neighbors pitch a battle over territory and legacy that reveals how far our ideas about race and gentrification have evolved… or have they?

Nashville Repertory Theatre’s production of Clybourne Park plays from September 8 – 22, 2012 with preview performances September 6 & 7, 2012 at TPAC’s Andrew Johnson Theatre.

Rated: High School and above Visit: http://nashvillerep.org/clybourne-park to get your tickets today! Or call the TPAC box office at (615) 782-4040

2012-2013 Seasonnashrep