November 22, 2014  

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Southern Miss Theatre to present Clybourne Park

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The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Theatre will kick off its spring 2014 season with its presentation of Clybourne Park. All performances will take place in the Tatum Theatre of the Theatre and Dance Building at Southern Miss. Performances are Feb. 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28 and March 1 at 7:30 p.m. A matinee performance will be held Feb. 23 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $14 for the public; $10 for faculty, staff, seniors, and military; $8 for students. For tickets, call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at 601.266.5418 or 800.844.8425 or visit www.southernmisstickets.com.

Clybourne Park takes one on a wickedly funny and disturbingly real encounter with racism and real estate. The same Chicago neighborhood is seen through black and white as time changes from 1959 to 2009. Brilliantly written, this searing satire picks up where Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun left off, then takes a sharp plot turn into the 21st century. How much has really changed? This piece is courageously honest and contains adult language, humor, and themes.

Monica Hayes, professor of theatre and director of Clybourne Park, is thrilled to bring this play to Hattiesburg.

“This is the only play in history to win the Pulitzer Prize, the Tony Award for Best New Play, and the Olivier Award for Best New Play in the same year,” Hayes said. “That has never happened before and it’s a very exciting thing that we get to do this play so soon after its Broadway run.

“In the play’s jump from 1959 to 2009, there’s a lot of progress in the world, but at the same time the play reveals and digs up many of society’s issues that are still unresolved and still difficult for us to talk about openly and honestly,” she said. “The play has a major theme of race, but there’s also some discussion of homosexuality, men vs. women, and social class. It’s also a wonderful and touching story about a family and what happens to them.”

Rachael Swartz, a third-year Masters of Fine Arts in Performance candidate from Wooster, Ohio, is playing the roles of Betsy and Lindsey in Clybourne Park and is working on her final creative project for the play.

“We often consider race relations in the South and the way it affects society and the tumultuous relationship we have had, but we don’t often examine the rest of the world. I think that by better understanding where we’ve come from and where we currently reside, we can help each other to better resolve issues within our own community. We do have issues of gentrification in any urban city,” said Swartz.

“It’s also funny to see people in the hot seat. The sort of things people say in high-pressure situations that reveal fears and deep-seated prejudices is fascinating,” she said. “I think it’ll be a really enjoyable show for this community, and it’s something that we should all examine within ourselves.”

For more information about the Department of Theatre, call 601.266.4994 or visit www.usm.edu/theatre.