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Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris

Purdue University Theatre, 2018 

 

Clybourne Park is, at its core, a battle between justice and privilege. The action blazes like a 4th of July sparkler lit indoors. Intersecting conflicts fly off that central flame, threatening to burn the house down.

 

Columnist Jamil Smith writes of theatre artist Anna Deveare Smith that African American women in particular are expected “to perform empathy, often well beyond the call of duty. From day one, they operate in a world built to render them and their pain invisible, a world that demands they empathize with the very people who inflict that pain on them.” In this production, I wanted audiences to see that experience lived upon the stage. 

Another priority was portraying the character Betsy as a smart, successful Deaf woman of her time. Throughout the first act, she continually adjusted her position to read lips and stay in the conversation as the sexist and ableist biases of others continually pushed her out. 

The design team consisted of MFA students with the exception of Costume Designer, Erin Carignan, Visiting Assistant Professor.

Deaf Advocate: Hayden Smith

Scenic Design: Jinqiu "Max" He

Costume Design: Erin Carignan (Faculty)

Lighting Design: Allison Newhard

Sound Design: Zackary Bennett

Technical Director: Erin Canfield (MFA Terminal Project)