Over the summer all students were encouraged to read a play called Clybourne Park as our 2015 Loyola Common Text. This semester, Clybourne Park was brought to life by our very own Loyola students. The book, written in the form of a script, was at times hard to follow. The themes and overall messages embedded into the play were not clearly identifiable when reading the text. However, when performed, the point of the play was quite blatantly obvious.
The student actors did a fantastic job portraying the roles attributed to them, especially since they essentially had to play two separate roles in scene one and scene two. The ability of the actors to transform themselves to each part perfectly was quite impressive. The controversial content and crude humor within the play was intentionally meant to provoke awkwardness and a slight uncomfortable feeling among the audience. The players were very talented and performed with ease in such a way that made the scenes feel eerily realistic.
The second scene in particular was quite unsettling to me. The fact that I could picture a similar argument happening among my peers is frightening to think about. It seems that maybe we haven’t come as far as we once thought in respect to racial equality and stereotyping. Uncomfortable dialogues are kept right below the surface until they eventually come bubbling over the top, creating a disruption of community. Clybourne Park puts two scenes side by side: one from a time which seems particularly far removed from today, and another which is quite current. The shocking parallels are meant to make the audience see how some things have not changed as much as we would like to think they have.