Actors take on double roles to stage 'Clybourne Park'

Performers act out a scene of Clybourne Park, which opens Nov. 8 at Le Chat Noir.



Actors locally spend a couple of months immersed in one character before having the opportunity to try another; however with Clybourne Park, Le Chat Noir’s latest offering, actors get to delve into two characters in one show.

“I play a priest and a lawyer,” said Tom Colechin. “I’m trying to distinguish the two. I like that challenge of doing two different characters in one show. It stretches me.”

A 2011 Pulitzer Prize and 2012 Tony Award winning play, Clybourne Park takes up where A Raisin in the Sun leaves off. It deals with families and race relations in two different eras.

One involves a white family from 1959 moving out of the neighborhood to leave behind painful memories. An African-American family is moving into the home. Then in Act Two, the play fast-forwards 50 years with a white family moving back into the home, which is now in an all-black neighborhood facing gentrification.

Not only does Jessica Bailey have to create two characters, but one is deaf.

“She’s deaf, but she has lines. I don’t say much, but I have to play her without making fun of her,” she said.

Bailey also has to tune out the noises other actors make on stage and focus on lips as though she’s reading them rather than focus on eyes.

Her 1950s character doesn’t have many lines, but the words she speaks are pivotal to the character and to the setting of the first act.

It’s the story and the writing that drew director Krys Bailey into producing it.

“There are a lot of clever set-ups,” he said. “It’s a good read. If it’s good on the page, it’s good on stage. If it’s crap on the page, it’s crap on stage.”

Clybourne Park is a fast-paced production that features a “nice mix of tragic with comedic moments,” according to Krys Bailey.

Clybourne Park will be staged at 8 p.m. Nov. 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16. Tickets are $25. For ticket information, call (706) 722-3322.