‘Clybourne Park’ performs to a sold-out audience

artsculture

“Clybourne Park,” a Pulitzer- and Tony-award winning play, was performed during the past week at McDaniel College. The show opened on March 6 and closed on March 9. Tickets were $7 for general admission and $5 for students, alumni, seniors, and veterans.

The popularity of the show came as a pleasant surprise to the company. On the final night of the show, tickets sold out with twenty minutes still remaining until the curtains opened.

“The last night is usually pretty popular,” remarked Chris Shatzer, a senior and non-major member of the Alphi Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society, working the consession stand. “It’s everyone coming in for their last chance to see the show. I would say ‘Clybourne Park’ overall [has been] a success.”

The ticket salesman, Ethan Cortes, also remarked on closing night’s large crowd.

“It’s kind of intimidating,” he said, selling the next-to-last ticket.

Nevertheless, the show must go on. The many guests filed into Alumni Hall’s understage to watch. Many commented on the set–a large depiction of a 1950s house, complete with staircase and exits to various rooms.

One guest was particularly impressed with how real the house appeared, noting how it seemed to belong in real life.

The cast was composed of McDaniel students of various majors and minors. Half were inducted members of Alpha Psi Omega. There were also several faculty and students involved in the technical side, forming the backbone of this performance. The set designer, Andrea Ball, has her Master’s of Fine Arts in scenic design and is a current adjunct professor at McDaniel College. Her contributions are perhaps what made the intricacies of the set so impressive.

The mood of the show also relied heavily on its use of lighting and sound. Songs frequently came in and out as the energy required. The importance of “techies,” those volunteer students who work the lighting and soundboards, in this show cannot be understated. They ensure the show goes off without a hitch.

“The show went as well as to be expected,” said sophomore Anna Odell, light board operator, “It ran like any college production would. Rushed at the very end. Everyone thinks the show won’t be ready in time, then everything goes with just a few hiccups.”

The show is a two-act contrast between racist housing policies of the 1950s and gentrification in the modern era. The scenes captivated the audience with witty, fast dialogue, often interrupted by sudden bouts of intense emotion and conflict. The mood in the house was consistently rising and falling. For all the times the audience laughed, there were equal periods of somber silence.

“I feel as though the racial discussions with the play were very accurate,” said Jamar Mackell, McDaniel student and theatre fan. “The portrayal of a certain type of stereotype within a race makes me really believe and feel the tension between these characters.”

“Some people doubted the effect of the themes on the audience,” Yuli Marchman, a first-year student, said. “I actually liked it. I thought it was a good show about gentrification. I don’t know if everyone got that in the second act, but it wasn’t [the cast’s] fault. It’s a good show. People should go see it.”