Friday, July 2, 2010
Two Beautiful Plays by Lorraine Hansberry
By Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
I have never read a play simply for the pure pleasure of reading a great story. But recently, I read two. A Raisin in the Sun and The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, both by Lorraine Hansberry. I suppose I cheated a bit, because both plays came bound together in one lovely little paperback, but that didn’t make me love them any less. In fact, the commentaries between the plays were absolutely heartfelt and breathtaking! Lorraine Hansberry was a beautiful, funny, insightful woman who, in her abruptly short life, changed the world with her raw perception and clever, genuine dialog.
While Raisin takes us into the South Side of Chicago and a family clinging to, losing, and grasping to figure out and save their dreams .... The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window takes us to a very different dark place in American society with another ragtag cast of characters doing very much the same thing in their own way.
A Raisin in the Sun seems to end on a happy note, although we know the Lee family has a much more difficult journey ahead of them and Sign leaves us sad, angry and charged.
However each play is so much more than that. More than the stories come to life on the stage. More than what you see in front of you. The author is very funny and intuitive, very much in tune with the world and human condition. But both plays left me feeling differently about the world around me and that is a beautiful and amazing testament to Ms Hansberry!!