CLYBOURNE PARK presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through Feb. 16.
The 2014 season continues its momentum with another talented ensemble taking to a local stage, this time at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Due to the two acts of the play taking place 50 years apart inside the same house, we get to see some fun character work, especially from the ladies. Strong direction by Timothy Douglas keeps the play moving well and takes advantage of the space available, especially when nearly the entire cast is on stage. The script is smart and funny with some clever parallels between the acts, in characters and staging, that I really enjoyed.
Both acts start off Seinfield-esque in tone before the script addresses the weightier issues. There were times in both acts where these conversations seemed a bit slow in pick-up and pacing. I’m sure this will work itself out quickly with a few more performances. It was also unclear to me what the meeting in Act II was regarding until a bit later in the act.
The set design by Tony Cisek is truly impressive, especially the transition into Act II where the attention to detail is phenomenal and easy to get lost in. I did find the wallpaper in Act I to be a bit visually overwhelming, mainly due to the square footage of it on the walls.
I was also unclear about the epilogue at the end of Act II. It seemed a bit confused linearly to me.
Overall a well-done and thought-provoking production. The topic of racism (like many that plague our nation) evokes such extreme reactions that its hard to find middle ground to even discuss it. At least for two hours we experienced laughter together, even when we saw aspects of ourselves on stage that struck a little to close to home.
My rating: 4.25 out of 5
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