Performing Arts auditions open for ‘Clybourne Park’

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Elliott Puckette, Copy Editor

“Bone Dance” wrapped up earlier this month, whisking away singing cats and sassy corpses into the November air. But Madison College Performing Arts will be back with a new show in the spring, and auditions are sooner than you think.
On Dec. 1 and 2, at 6 p.m. and 4 p.m. respectively, auditions will be held on the Mitby stage for “Clybourne Park,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning dark comedy by Bruce Norris.

This 2009 spin-off of the contemporary classic “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry revisits the relationship between racism and real estate, both during the late 1950s and the modern day.

The play is split into two acts. The first takes place in 1959, where a white family is in the midst of moving away from their house in Clybourne Park in search of a fresh start. When the white neighbors finds out that the new family is African-American, they are concerned that the neighborhood will be devalued and lose its reputation as a pleasant and safe area. Tensions build as everyone fights for what they need and want from their community.

The second act flashes forward fifty years to 2009. Clybourne Park has become a poor, predominantly black community. A white couple is in the midst of negotiations for that same house, buying it from a descendent of the original black family. Concerns over gentrification, disrespect of heritage, and racial insensitivity turn negotiations into argument, the conflict ironically mirroring Act One.

Racial divide through the twin lenses of segregation and gentrification give the play a social relevance beyond entertainment, which is one of the reasons Miranda Hawk, Performing Arts faculty member and director of Clybourne Park, loves it so much. “This play offers a timely look at race relations today,” she said, “And the dialogue sparkles; the layered lines give it an orchestral quality. It’s beautiful.”

Most of the actors will pull double duty, playing at least one character in each act. Their Act Two characters are similar to their Act One parts in some cases, while completely opposite in others. The cast consists of seven to eight actors: three female and four or five male, depending on how roles are combined.

If you are interested in auditioning, the Mitby Theater on Dec. 1 or 2 is the place to be, no preparation necessary. If you have any questions, or are interested in helping behind the scenes, contact Miranda Hawk, [email protected].