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    A Raisin in the Sun: A Classic African-American Story Retold

    Tuscarora’s Fine Arts Celebrates Black History Month with Lorraine Hansberry’s Most Notable Work

    “This show is important to me because I feel like it’s a way for us to contribute to educating people about assimilation and black culture throughout the years,” said Jaz Anderson, an actress at Tuscarora. Tuscarora Performing Arts is putting on a production of A Raisin in the Sun on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m., Feb. 3 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.,  and Feb. 4 at 2 p.m.  A Raisin in the Sun, a play written by Lorraine Hansberry, tells the story of the Youngers, an African-American family living in Southern Chicago. The family consists of Walter, Mama, Travis, Ruth, and Beneatha, and the show presents the struggles they experience following Mama’s husband’s death in World War II. Throughout the show, the family debates over what to do with his life insurance money, leading to conflicting interests that tear the family apart.

    “It’s empowering to see a show played by an African-American family, and knowing that I will be able to inspire the young black actors that come to see the show,” expressed Queen Kincaide, one of the actresses portraying Ruth Younger. Tuscarora’s production of A Raisin in the Sun includes two casts to highlight a variety of actors and their different interpretations of their characters. 

    Both casts include a wide age range of actors, from 13 to 18 year olds. The casts of A Raisin in the Sun emphasize how important this show is in modern times. “I want the audience to learn about the various struggles that black people endured throughout the centuries and continue to experience today, even though it’s not as discussed,” Anderson said, one of the actresses who portrays Beneatha Younger. “People should learn to be kinder to people,”  said George Pippen, the youngest cast member in the show who portrays Travis Younger. Audiences will learn a variety of lessons and have their eyes opened to new perspectives.

    Tuscarora’s cast and crew of A Raisin in the Sun had a variety of processes to bring the script to life. Joelle Aheto, the dramaturgy who provides research and brings historical accuracy to the show, shares, “It’s a show with a majority African-American cast and since it takes place after World War II, around the 1950s, this was a time period that was common in a variety of Tuscarora shows, and I really wanted my research to connect the history of America and the various mentions and demonstrations of African culture.” The show includes various historical elements from speech to period accurate hair and makeup. Addison Zimmerman, who is the hair and makeup designer, explains “My design process consisted of researching the shows and going in depth with specific characters…I then went on to finding wigs within our budget, and styled them on the actors while also making some of the characters more masculine and making sure everything is historically accurate.”

    Another important and symbolic element of the show is Mama’s plant, a prop created by Aubrey Boissiere. The cast and crew affectionately named the plant “Lorraine” in honor of the play’s author. Lorraine is used to symbolize the love and care Mama has for her family, and shows her dreams for someday living in a nice place with a garden for her to tend to.

    Through months of work and dedication, the cast and crew has created a powerful, tear-jerking story. LCPS students can buy a ticket at the door for only $5 in cash, and anyone else can purchase a regular ticket for $11.50 on the Tuscarora Performing Arts website. Tuscarora invites all to come watch this historical piece of African-American literature.

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    About the Contributor
    Sydney Nicklas, Staff Writer
    Sydney is a sophomore at Tuscarora, and this is her first year as a staff writer for The Pack. Sydney is in choir and theater at THS and plays classical guitar. She also loves reading and her two dogs.

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