By Bob Nelson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In 1959, the classic production of the American stage was Loraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin In The Sun.” But in 2010, another playwright, Bruce Norris, conceived “Clybourne Park,” which was based on real-life events and fashioned in the shadow of the Hansberry play.
The Norris treatment is well honored and currently installed on the Arcadia Stage of the Arden Theatre. It’s a weird history of a house, a neighborhood, and the people who’ve come and gone over five decades.
Act I: 1959 — grieving parents give up their home in a middle-class Chicago neighborhood as they learn the family buying the property is black. Their neighbors, we learn, are very unhappy about the sale. In one odd moment, the son in the family, who is a Korean War veteran, takes his own life.
Act II: The year is now 2002. The same capable cast as in Act I, but now portraying different characters. It’s now an all-black neighborhood insisting the new white owners conform to local housing regulations.
“Clybourne Park,” by Bruce Norris and directed by Edward Sobel, will play the Arden Theatre, 40 North Second Street in Old City Philadelphia, through March 25th.