February is celebrated as Black History Month, and the powerful play ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ has been chosen by the Market Theatre to highlight this important event.
The production marks the fourth theatrical collaboration between the Market Theatre and the US Embassy in South Africa.
The Market Theatre also celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and Artistic Director James Ngcobo has committed to staging a line-up of diverse productions in honour of that milestone.
Black History Month is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. Ngcobo has already directed several American plays that resonate with local audiences, such as ‘The Colored Museum’, ‘The Amen Corner’, ‘A Tribute to Maya Angelou’ and he chose ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ as the latest production because of its many similarities with the lives of South Africans. The cast is mostly South African, with the addition of an American actress based in South Africa, and Ngcobo has expressed confidence that the cast will transcend the high standards already set by previous productions of this work by Lorraine Hansberry.
The play is about a family in Chicago going through its everyday struggles in the squalor it calls home. Walter Lee Younger, the eldest son, knows that he wants far more than life has offered him and feels trapped in this whirlwind of an existence. He fears that if things don’t change, he will not be able to even catch his breath. Hansberry explores the pain of this man, and instils the play with a sense of pathos in all the scenes between Walter and Ruth, his wife.
It is also a historical document that deals with how people change with each generation, yet it underlines the fact that not much has changed in life’s circumstances. The questions posed a couple of decades ago remain unanswered today, and the work of those who asked those questions is not done yet.
‘A Raisin in the Sun’ will premiere at the Market Theatre for its limited season on February 2 and run until the 28th.
* Performance will take place from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm, and on Sundays at 3pm.
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