A Raisin in the Sun - November 02 - November 05, 2017

Fort Walton Beach High School

 Director's Notes 


I have always loved this play-- the spirit and vulnerability of the characters, the honesty of the dialogue, and the extraordinary women who are at the core of the family. It was important for me to direct this play because the messages within it are just as powerful today as they were 50 years ago.


The  dictionary defines  prejudice as a "preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience."  Even though Lorraine Hansberry was the daughter of two well-educated and prominant leaders in the African-American community, and she herself was a well known and educated women, the color of her skin was the one thing that a 1950's America cared about.  Every human on the planet has his or her own prejudices; it is something hard-wired into us, a left-over relic from the caveman days when the fear of someone who did not look like you was often necessary for survival. In the modern world, a child's perspective of people who are different from him is something extracted from the adults in his life, and can be deeply ingrained until a life experience changes his perspective.


In  Lorraine Hansberry's America, racial prejudice  provides the framework within which the drama unfolds. The American dream-- to own a home and have a successful career-- seems to be within reach, but outside forces of deception and racism keep it just out of reach, sagging like the heavy load in Langston Hughes' poem that Hannsberry used as the title of this play.


America still holds the promise of that dream, a place where hard work and a noble spirit make it achievable for everyone, even though the current political culture seems to limit who that dream can belong to.  Walter Lee equates his manhood with his ability to achieve wealth, and Lena believes that home ownership is the cornerstone of her family's spirit. These two dreams collide and explode in a fierce battle that questions which is more important, but in the end,  we know that the family, like the little plant that Lena nurtures so faithfully, will thrive.


Thank you for sharing this story with us tonight. I hope you take away the feeling that you, too, can overcome the roadblocks that this world may put in front of you, and that the American dream can indeed become your reality, no matter who you are.


Christa Whittaker

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