Each year the Fayetteville Technical Community College Foundation hosts a dinner theatre event as its annual fundraiser. This year, local audiences will have a chance to view a familiar and classic play while they support a classic institution.
Planned for March 11-13, the event will feature A Raisin in the Sun.
According to Sean Davidson, the chair of the Fine Arts Department, they wanted to produce a play that the community could relate to, adding that he feels the audience will enjoy seeing their friends, family and other members of the community involved. Davidson believes A Raisin in the Sun will resound with the audience, especially in today’s economy, because they will be able to relate to the harsh struggle that many families are going through.
Ever since Lorraine Hansberry’s play debuted in 1959, it has been a relevant piece of contemporary African-American history, as well as one of the standards to which many playwrights hold their work. Done and re-done numerous times, from stage play to television program, and featuring phenomenal stars like Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Louis Gossett Jr, Phylicia Rashad and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, A Raisin in the Sun continues to strike a chord amongst all who have a chance to view this amazing production.
Derived from a poem titled “Harlem” by Langston Hughes, the play tells the story of the Youngers, a disadvantaged African-American family struggling to make ends meet in Chicago, sometime between World War II and the 1950s. As the play opens the family is on the brink of a dramatic change in their circumstances, due to a $10,000 check they are due to receive in a few days.
The money comes from the life-insurance policy left by the deceased Mr. Younger. His wife, the leader of the family, has decided to use it to buy a house and fulfill the dream she shared with her husband.
Her son, Walter Lee, wants to use the money to invest in a liquor store, which he believes will solve the family’s financial problems and give them a more solid future. His mother disagrees however, not only with the plan but with the type of business he is looking to invest in, as it is against her religious beliefs. You also get the impression that this is not the only “fl y by night” scheme that Walter has invested in or attempted to invest in with dismal results.
Walter’s wife Ruth wants to put the money toward something more concrete, to give their son Travis a better future, and agrees with Mother that they should move to Clybourne Park (a predominantly white neighborhood).
Walter’s sister Beneatha, wants her mother to use the money however she wishes, although her Mother did mention that she may use it on Beneatha’s medical-school tuition. The family continues to clash over what to spend the money on throughout the duration of the play.
While on the surface the production seems to be just about the family’s investment, it quickly becomes clear that there are many other underlying issues. The Mother’s struggle to keep the family together despite their newfound wealth, Walter’s feelings of insecurity at not being able to fi ll his father’s shoes and take care of his family, and Ruth’s conflicted feelings between wanting to stay loyal to her husband and do what’s best for her family.
When a representative from The Clybourne Park Improvement Association approaches the family to “buy them out” to keep them from moving, the family is ultimately forced to make a decision. Stick together and continue to help each other, or separate and strike out each on their own.
The play will be staged in two locations. On March 5-6, the show will be on stage at Fort Bragg’s York Theater. On March 11-14 and March 18- 20, the show will be on stage at Cumberland Hall Auditorium on the campus of FTCC. The March 18 performance is slated as the foundation’s dinner theater. This annual event raises funds for scholarships and materials for FTCC students. Tickets to the March 18 performance are $15, while all other performances are free.
For more information, call the Fine Arts Department at 678-0042.