Review: Arden Theatre Company's "A Raisin In The Sun"

Joilet F. Harris as Lena Younger in Arden Theatre Company's production of A Raisin in the Sun. Photo: Mark Garvin
 "What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?"
This question silently echoes through the audience during the Arden Theatre Company's production of "A Raisin in the Sun.' This historical tale takes us almost day by day through the 'dreams' of the Younger family as they await the delivery of a life insurance check. With the title pulled from the lines of one of Langston Hughes' most popular works, we witness the Younger family's dreams being threatened. 

L-R: Jaleesa Capri as Beneatha Younger, U.R. as Walter Lee Younger, Joilet F. Harris as Lena Younger, Nikki E. Walker as Ruth Younger, Yannick Haynes as Travis Younger in Arden Theatre Company's production of A Raisin in the Sun. Photo: Mark Garvin

Set inside the Younger's home in South Side Chicago during the 1950s, we meet Walter Lee Younger (played by U.R.) who lives with his wife Lena (Joilet F. Harris). Their son Travis (Yannick Haynes) sleeps on the couch while his mother Ruth (Nikki E. Walker) and sister Beneatha (Jaleesa Capri) share a room. With so many opinions under one roof you can be sure this money will cause some tension. However, it is the family's final decision to purchase a house in the all-white-Clybourne Park neighborhood that shakes their family the most. Lessons are learned and emotions are high in this intimate stage production. The performances were believable and the simplicity of the set allowed you to get a true feel for the Younger's living situation. 

U.R. as Walter Lee Younger in Arden Theatre Company's production of A Raisin in the Sun. Photo: Mark Garvin

Written by Lorraine Hansberry and Directed by Walter Dallas, "A Raisin in the Sun" paved the way for the African American voice to be heard on stage. These performers did an excellent job of expressing that voice. It's sometimes difficult to produce such a popular piece but it was done well on the F. Otto Haas Stage.

L-R: Joilet F. Harris as Lena Younger, Yannick Haynes as Travis Younger, Leonard C. Haas as Karl Lindner, Nikki E. Walker as Ruth Younger, U.R. as Walter Lee Younger, and Jaleesa Capri as Beneatha Younger in Arden Theatre Company's production of A Raisin in the Sun. Phtoto: Mark Garvin

This was my first time attending an Arden Theatre Company production but I enjoyed the intimacy of the theater. Although the space is larger than some local theatres the performance seemed more up close and personal. I attended opening night and the audience was packed. Due to such a positive response the play has been extended through April 21st, 2013. The Arden Theatre Company has produced this performance as part of it's 25th Anniversary Season so be sure to expect some performance extras.* There are discounts for students, seniors, military, educators, teens and children. Rush tickets^ and group rates are available as well. Visit the website at www.ardentheatre.org or call the box office at 215-922-1122. Visit in person at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City.

L-R: Yannick Haynes as Travis Younger, Joilet F. Harris as Lena Younger, and Nikki E. Walker as Ruth Younger in Arden Theatre Company's production of A Raisin in the Sun. Photo: Mark Garvin


*POST SHOW DISCUSSIONS
THURS, MARCH 21ST 8PM
SUN, MARCH 24TH 2PM
WED, MARCH 27TH 6:30PM
WED, APRIL 3RD 6:30PM
SUN, APRIL 7TH 2PM

*CAPTIONED PERFORMANCES: 
APRIL 12TH 2013 8PM
APRIL 13TH 2013 2PM

*AUDIO DESCRIBED PERFORMANCES:
APRIL 12TH A 8PM
APRIL 13TH AT 2PM

^ Student rush tickets available at the door 30 minutes before curtain for $10 cash, pending availability. Must present valid student ID.

---Nola Darling

Share on Google Plus
    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment