Houssaynatou @ 'A Raisin in the Sun' - A classic never disappoints

What's it about?

The classic A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry gives you an insight of an African American family living in the era of inequality and racism. (Can you explain what it's about?)

My experience.

When I arrived at the Harlem Repertory Theatre, I knew I recognized this place. Ironically, just four years ago, I attended a wedding at this location. So I was happy to be back but this time to see a show rather than a wedding. One of the reasons I chose this show was because I was familiar with The Raisin in the Sun. I read the book by Lorraine Hansberry in school but I never saw it performed, though I knew Denzel Washington probably killed it on Broadway! I loooooooove me some Denzel Washington. I think he is the most good looking man at his age!

I had forgot the storyline but I was excited for the show to remind me of all that I forgot. There was an amphitheater with open seating so I went to the very top so that I could get a good view of the stage and I did. I knew it was an all black cast and it was set in the 1960s, when life for African Americans were hard. The struggles they faced in the time of segregation is depicted by this particular family, the Lee family. This family did not only have the matriarch but also her two grown children, daughter in law, and grandchild living in a small two bedroom apartment in the south side of Chicago. I sometimes complain about how small my house is when there are too many guests over but little did I know people have it much worse. 

Editor's Note (Cheyanne): SAME GIRL SAME!! I get so agitated when there are too many bodies in my house. It's good to take a step back and see how incredibly fortunate we are to have something so trivial to complain about.

The matriarch of the family Lena, is a hard working woman trying to provide for her family even though she has passed retirement age. Her son Walter and daughter Benny can’t seem to wrap their head around why their mother is not working even more. Their guilt for their mom working at her age does not pass their minds because they look at it as we all have to work no matter how tired we are because the world does not look at us as all equal. That hit a spot for me because I see my mom working almost every single day coming home tired and I just feel so bad for her. But as she always says, “I only do it for you guys and to eventually go back home to Guinea”. 

A $10,000 check from the deceased patriarch retirement plan has come in and the family is going crazy. Walter wants the money to invest in a liquor store, Benny needs it for medical school tuition, Ruth wants to buy a new house, and Lena wants to donate the money to the church. With that being said, there were wants and needs but no one was prioritizing between the two. Lena therefore took it upon herself to purchase a new place for $3500, create a $3000 trust fund for her grandson, and gave the rest to her son Walter. I think Lena perfectly divided the money satisfying almost everyone because that is what mothers do. 

Unfortunately, the mistake that Lena made was giving the check to Walter to put in the bank. Walter is very reckless when it comes to money and everyone is aware of that but Walter. At times you do not recognize your weaknesses until someone points it out. Walter decided to give the check to someone to invest, hoping for a larger return but that person ran away with the check and never came back. Everyone's reaction was complete shock and a dose of reality that they were not going to move on up from where they are. Lena stood by her son’s side even though he lost all of her money. A mother’s love can never be replaced or lost. I know that because I have done some crazy things but my mom stood by me at all times and I am grateful for that. 

In an era that so much oppression was targeted towards a particular group, a family perseveres through their own trials and tribulations. The classic A Raisin in the Sun never disappoints, and in this two and a half hour show, I thought I was going to leave during intermission because it was getting late but the show was so good I could not fathom leaving. I ended up staying for the entire show and I am glad that I did because I absolutely loved it!


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