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  1. Donald Bruce
    January 21, 2013 @ 3:41 pm

    Bill – I agree with your assessment of CLYBOURNE PARK as a play, although I feel the issues with the play go deeper than you present. I have not seen the production at the Rep, so I cannot comment on the performances. My experience with CLYBOURNE PARK is based on a production in Los Angeles, again well acted, but unable to overcome the basic flaws of the play itself. It was done in conjunction with a production of RAISIN IN THE SUN, the play Norris uses a jumping off point for CLYBOURNE PARK. I use the term “jumping off point” because by comparison Norris is in way over his head.
    I have never understood the massive attention heaped on this play (a Tony, the Pulitzer). The first act presents a rather facile mirror to the original plot. Why would a white family sell their home to a family of color? Instead of presenting a thorough examination of the question, Norris presents us with stereotypes from the period with all of the clichéd dialogue to go with it. The second act is even worse. Again we have the stereotypes, this time of contemporary “correct” society. The act presents a litany of all of the “ills” of the present day; gentrification, loss of history, homophobia, racism thrown together with a healthy dose of passive/aggressive behavior and self entitlement. At least in the first act the purpose of the stereotypical behavior had a direction. The second act seems to meander from one “political correct” topic to another with no purpose other than to change focus from character to character.
    I was so sure that I had missed something important that I got a copy of the play to read it, thinking that it might give me more insight. The only insight I gained was that Norris had a good one act and need to figure out how to turn it into a full evening of theatre. Unfortunately, he didn’t.

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