Portland Center Stage: Clybourne Park

Clybourne Park is about how neighborhoods change over the years.  Outside the theater was a map of Portland where people were invited to write their comments.
Here’s my neighborhood.  The yellow post-it says “the cows used to travel through here.”  I didn’t focus the camera enough to be able to see what the blue post-it said.

As for the play itself, it was very good.  The writing was both funny and uncomfortable, which meant I laughed and felt twisted up the entire time.  That said, I recommend you see it not only for the subject matter, but because over intermission, the crew “ages” the house that is the main setting 50 years and it is fascinating to watch.  That alone is worth the price of admission.

I attended this play to see Andy Lee-Hillstrom (the mashed potato eating actor who inspired my current Lint project) and he was fabulous as Jim/Tom/Kenneth.  But Sal Visccuso was brilliant as Russ/Dan and Sharonlee McLean was also incredible as Bev/Kathy.  I had last seen Brianna Horne as Laurie in Oklahoma and it was fun to watch her transform from “getting along” maid Francine to empowered Lena.  The rest of the cast was also wonderful.

Because of the uncomfortable subject matter Director Chris Coleman had a talk back after every show.  It was interesting to hear about how the actors felt about their characters.  Also worth the price of admission was the essay “The House on Clybourne Street” by Beryl Satter which discussed the only way black people in Chicago were able to purchase a home in the mid-twentieth century.  The essay was a punch in the gut for me.  I understood that things were unfair, but was outraged at how unfair this particular practice was.  Do yourself a favor and read the essay.

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