The Pike Theatre broke all records last fall with their amazing Indiana premiere production of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple with three sell out performances in November. Then came the news of Pike 2004 alum Sasheer Zamata made history being the most recent and highly publicized addition to the cast of Saturday Night Live.
In celebration of Black History month the Pike Theatre will proudly present another Indiana first with the production of Living Green by award winning playwright and educator Gloria Bond-Clunie. The play Living Green was featured in Re-Imaging ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ an Anthology of four plays that illuminates the tensions,anxieties still surrounding integration.
Pike is delighted that Ms. Bond-Clunie will share her expertise in a one day workshop about playwrighting and Black History the week of the show at the Pike Performing Arts Center. This national award winner is an original member of the Playwrighting Ensemble at the Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago. Her play Quark was one of two finalists in the 2007 for best new play about science and technology and just opened this week in Chicago. Her play Shoes was recognized as the best new play of 2005 by the Chicago Black Theatre Alliance. Her play North Star, which Pike produced in 2008 was a winner of a Chicago Jeff Award for Best New Play. Originally from Henderson, North Carolina, Gloria now lives in Evanston, Illinois. She and her husband are proud parents of their daughter, Aurelia.
According to Victory Gardens Theater, the Tony Award-winning troupe known for its ensemble of writers, including Clunie, the play is set in 1995, the year of the Million Man March, and "looks back at a recent moment in black history while investigating issues seemingly ripped from today's headlines. What happened to our families as we 'moved up' and fled the black neighborhoods that once nurtured us? How do we revitalize our communities?
Angela and Frank Freeman are "hardworking parents who moved out of the old neighborhood years ago to give their children, Dempsey and Carol, what they never had — access to great schools and well-manicured lawns. Trouble is, Frank is worried he and Angela may have traded away their children's identity as African Americans in the process. With Carol about to graduate from high school, Frank suggests they move back to the city, and join a few families who are trying to make a difference. Angela, however, is too worried about safety. Newly energized with the sense of community generated by the Million Man March, the Freemans make plans to sell their home, just as they take in 16-year-old Shondra, a bright girl raised in the projects. Can their newfound idealism survive the very real challenges Shondra brings into their home?"
Clunie said in production notes, "People have asked if this is a play about ecology. In some ways, yes. If you've got money, you're life is greener. You're able to afford green. Literally, and ecologically. But should green only be possessed by the people who can afford it?"
She added, "The title is really inspired by the plant in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. The small potted plant represents Mama Younger's dream of owning a house with a garden — a dream that propels much of the action in a play about an African American family consigned to a specific community, and they want to expand beyond that. And I began to wonder what happened to us as we moved out of our communities?
The play explores questions of obligation and identity as it tells of a well-to-do African American family "living green" in a mostly white Chicago suburb. In the reverse of the objective of Raisin's family, they are contemplating a move back to the old neighborhood
Feb 18th and 19th at 7:00 pm in the Pike Performing Arts Studio Theatre
Tickets: $ 6.00 Student (pre sale)
$ 8.00 at the door day of the show seating is limited.
Karin Stratton - Director
Kyle Bredehoeft - Technical Director/Set Designer
For more information contact:
Karin Stratton - Pike Theatre Director
Gloria Bond Clunie - Playwright (847) 772.8191
Reviews from Chicago production
EpochTimes - Recommended
"...the story appears as if we are truly looking in the window. While to many audience members, the plot may seem implausible, I could see that there might just be a man or two who might have felt the need to follow his heart after experiencing the March. That was a special time in history for the African American male, a time to feel that he was not alone, that he had brothers and that his running away from his past might do more damage than running back to his past and making it his present. I think Ms. Bond Clunie has done t!"
Chicago Tribune - Recommended
"...Clunie clearly intends this play to be an open homage to “Raisin,” even borrowing (and re-purposing)
Chicago Sun Times - Recommended
"...Clunie's plot can sometimes feel too plotted. Yet she makes a mightily impressive stab at many ideas as she spins the story of an African-American couple -- Angela (Ann Joseph in a knockout performance)