Lorraine and You: “Raisin” then and now

As many patrons and reviewers have noted, one of the fascinating aspects of A Raisin in the Sun is how resonant it is today, despite how much our society and culture has changed. Even though we live in an era of increased civil rights, systemic racism still exists—if it didn’t, the play would feel more like a historical document, and less like a contemporary commentary.

Many patrons and students have been drawing these lines between then and now. If you read Amani Morrison’s program article “Then and Now,” you saw these two eras being threaded together.

In a previous blog post, we wrote about playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s peculiar list of “likes,” “dislikes,” and “dreams”:

On April 1, 1960, Hansberry scrawled on legal pad an offbeat list of things that she liked, hated, and wanted, with a final column for what she was “bored to death with.” The fragment is unique for the window it opens on her mind and disposition; it is both sad and funny, political and personal. “My homosexuality” appears twice, as a like and a hate; “racism,” “death,” “pain,” and “cramps” are all hates, along with “what has happened to Sydney Poitier” (who had starred in the first Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun in 1959).

In that same post, we asked our patrons and fans to write their own list, reflecting on both personal and social struggles. What has changed for you in your life? What feels possible? What does not? When we reflect on these ideas–prominent themes in A Raisin in the Sun–we get a glimpse into the power of theater to reveal social struggle, history, and change.

Today, we’re posting some of the written responses we’ve gotten from our on-site Story Hub, adjacent to the cafe at the theater. As the project continues, we’ll post more of our patrons’ likes, dislikes and dreams.


Buy tickets for A Raisin in the Sun or learn more about the show.


What’s Your Tale?

Patricia McGregor’s magical, family-friendly production of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale begins previews tomorrow, culminating the 2013 Cal Shakes season with a profusion of music, movement, miracles—and Triangle Lab activities.

Visit the memory wall to collect an object and tell us what memory it evokes.

Pick up song lyrics at the Triangle Lab activity sign (also inserted in your show program) so you can sing along during the performance.

Stop on the entrance path to see video of spoken-word performances by RAW (Richmond Artists with Talent), part of a Triangle Lab workshop exploring the impact of loss and healing through art.

On October 1 and 11, one hour prior to the performance, join storytellers from The Shout—led by Rami Margron—in the Grove Talk Grove to hear and share stories about faith and forgiveness.


Stories in a Bottle from American Night – 5.29.13

Each night, we’re inviting audience members at American Night to share a story in a bottle.  We’ll gather the stories and share each night’s collection here.  

Here’s the question they’re answering: On the bottle, write a one-sentence story of a departure, a journey, or an arrival in which you or a family member left something behind, crossed a border, or started a new life.

Stories from Wednesday 5.29.13

I visited 19 countries in one year as part of a study abroad trip. It was the most terrifying, exhausting, wonderful experience of my life so far.  I graduated college right when I got home — it was a big year.

When I moved from Iowa to California I felt as though I had moved to a foreign country because almost everything was different except the language; now it’s Iowa that feels like a foreign country.

On a ven-a-ver trip to Tijuana, Mexico I helped build a new house for a migrant family; we all signed the last sheet of drywall before it went up to leave a part of ourselves behind.

I graduated college and left my girlfriend (soon-to-be-wife) in Eureka, CA to get a job in my chosen profession – teaching. One thing led to another, never got that teaching job but did marry my sweetheart and now I’m a VP in security.


My grandfather immigrated to the U.S. From Austria when he was 2 years old – and his name was changed from Adamosky to Adams.