Monday, January 18, 2010

In the Wings: A Raisin in the Sun. Meet Steve Koehler, the director.

Steve Koehler directs A Raisin in the Sun, the third production of the 2009-2010 MainStage season at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette. The script is by Lorraine Hansberry.

Steve first read the play in high school. He said it was one of the first scripts to impact him.

"The story moved me when I read it in high school. It said something to me," he said. "When we chose the season a year and a half ago, things were looking bad economically: the housing market was going bad and some people were having a hard time finding a place to live. It came back to me that A Raisin in the Sun is as relevant today as when it was originally produced in 1959. It's also a very well-written play: there's a lot of humor and warmth. Alongside the amazing social and political commentary, it's just a very good play."

Steve described the setting of the play and the characters.

"The play is set in the early 1950s in the South Side of Chicago," he said. "It's set years before the housing projects went up in Chicago, but it was still a rough life. The play focuses on the Younger family: Mama (Valerie Baynard), her two children Walter (Jos N. Holman) and Beneatha (Ashley McElroy), Walter's wife Ruth (Ebony Kennedy) and their son Travis (Joseph Ricksy). The play is set the day before a $10,000 life insurance check is to arrive. It will change their lives somehow and we learn about the family members' dreams about life."

He concluded by suggesting what an audience will most remember about Civic Theatre's production of the play.

"They will walk away with an appreciation of Lorraine Hansberry's language and the actors' talent, but they will most remember the strength and love that exists within the Younger family. That is what drives this entire play," he said.

A Raisin in the Sun runs three consecutive weekends from Friday, January 29 to Sunday, February 14 at the historic Monon Depot Theatre in downtown Lafayette. Shows on Friday and Saturday evenings begin at 8:00 p.m.; shows on Sunday afternoons begin at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for youth age 18 and under.

For more infomration about the show or to order tickets, call 765-423-7529 or visit Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette's Web site,

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