American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) continues its 2010–11 season with the West Coast premiere of adamant provocateur Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park, winner of the prestigious London Evening Standard Award for Best New Play in 2010. Marking the A.C.T. mainstage debut of director Jonathan Moscone—longtime artistic director of California Shakespeare Theater—this “buzz-saw sharp new comedy” (The Washington Post) cleverly spins the events of A Raisin in the Sun to tell an unforgettable new story about race and real estate in America.
Act I opens in 1959, as a white couple sells their home to a black family, causing uproar in their middle-class Chicago neighborhood. Act II transports us to the same house in 2009, when the stakes are different, but the debate is strikingly familiar. Amid lightning-quick repartee, the characters scramble for control of the situation, revealing how we can—and can’t—distance ourselves from the stories that linger in our houses.
The Evening Standard Award was merely the tip of the iceberg of accolades for Clybourne Park: Following a critically acclaimed premiere at Playwrights Horizons in New York City, the show received a production at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. (which, in response to popular demand, will revive the production as part of its new season next year), and the acclaimed Royal Court Theatre production in London will move to the West End in 2011. During its various incarnations, the play has received raves from critics: Entertainment Weekly called it “completely audacious, architecturally ingenious entertainment,” while the New York Times hailed it as “a spiky and damningly insightful new comedy.” London’s Independent found it “outrageously funny and squirm-inducing,” and New York Magazine noted that its provocative subject matter “goes for the jugular of P.C. liberals.”
Clybourne Park, was extended by popular demand, and plays January 20–February 20, 2011, at the American Conservatory Theater at 415 Geary Street, San Francisco
Tickets (starting at $10) are available by calling the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or at www.act-sf.org