UCI Drama explores race relations and real estate in Bruce Norris’ CLYBOURNE PARK


IRVINE, Calif. (December 18, 2015) – UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts Department of Drama presents Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park, which was awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play. Written as a spin-off of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, it examines suburban racial tensions which occur in one Chicago house, 50 years apart. At the helm of Clybourne Park is guest director Leslie Ishii, a celebrated director, actor and arts educator, who is internationally recognized as a leader in the conversations surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion in the American theatre. Ms. Ishii is excited to explore this rich and controversial work.

Framing and driving the production is 406 Clybourne Street, a modest bungalow home in central Chicago in which the two acts take place, the first in 1959 and the second in 2009. At its core this is a story of race relations as they play out in the integration and “gentrification” of a neighborhood, a topic that resonates with Ishii personally. “My parents were catalysts for change, breaking the color barrier to move into the neighborhood where I was to grow up,” she says. Most white families moved away, but those who remained raised their children alongside families of color. The chance to direct this play is an opportunity to honor my parents, the vision they had for our family, and the neighbors who became our most cherished extended family.”

There are many layers to this carefully crafted show, which is further textured by the fact that the same actors play different characters in the first and second acts. “We, as an American population, have been talking about race and class for over 200 years,” states Ishii. “Although more deeply nuanced with the increased understanding of our shared history, many of these conversations are cyclical. Having the same actors portray characters of two different periods throws into relief how far (or not) we as a society have come.” She believes Norris’ confrontational script challenges us to examine how our individual experiences and the consequences of our choices are connected. With a dramatic flair that is often moving, at times shocking, and deeply provocative, this is a production of emotional switchbacks that beg its audience to take stock of why laughter might so quickly turn to outrage. To read the full interview with Ishii, visit drama.arts.uci.edu or our press room link.

Clybourne Park is the third offering in UCI Drama’s season of Care/Cure/Corruption, which explores themes of somatic and mental illness, as well as other kinds of institutional dis-ease. Featured productions aim to open discussions on the causes and manifestations of personal and communal malady, and to investigate ways in which we – as individuals and as a society – may affect a cure.

Performances and Ticket Information

Robert Cohen Theatre, UC Irvine
Parking: Mesa Parking Structure, 4004 Mesa Road, Irvine 92617
Evenings: Jan.30, Feb. 4, 5, 6       8:00 pm
Evening: Feb. 3                            7:30 pm
Matinees: Jan. 31*, Feb. 6, 7        2:00 pm
*Ticketholders: Please join us for a post-performance TalkBack with the creative team and cast.

General Admission $15 / Seniors & Groups 10+ $14 / UCI Students & Children under 17 $11

For tickets call the Box Office at (949) 824-2787 or visit www.arts.uci.edu/tickets