Community theater makes a connection

From book to stage and screen that’s what has been capturing me in the artful world of literature. When “Color Purple” hit Broadway I was determined to see the show, before it ended like a “Raisin in the Sun” and I had to revel in other people’s reviews. During the last week of “the purple” production, I was fascinated and captivated. Brilliant scenery, excellent vocals and dazzling dances. I loved it! Of course, without the original ending when Shugs makes amends with her father — earthly and heavenly the spiritual context of the color purple was lost.

Although I missed Lorraine Hansberry’s original 1958 production of “A Raisin in the Sun” and the BroadwayLorraine Hansberry show featuring Phylisha Rashad, I did read the book in high school and watch PBS adaption of the play starring Danny Glover and the 1961film starring Sidney Poitier. However, the most recent theater debut, produced by Passing the Torch Through the Arts and performed at Dutchess Community College in celebration of Black History Month, added depth and meaning to Hansberry’s Tony-award winning play that I had not garnered from my high school reading or the film adaption.

Langston Hughes’ poem “A Dream Deferred” inspired Hansberry to write “A Raisin in the Sun.”

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Hansberry also wrote this play, then, so white America could see blacks in other roles besides housekeepers and minstrels. After connecting the play to the poem, now, as a black woman, mother, parent, wife, and daughter I see people of all races, creeds and colors, who have experienced their dreams dry up in the sun as they make a decision to run or despite the sagging load carry on.