A Raisin in the Sun is a play about the Youngers, a lower-class black family living on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s. They are about to receive an insurance check for $10,000 from the deceased Mr. Younger’s life insurance policy. The money is life changing and tensions rise over how to best use the money. On the surface it tells the story of a lower-class family's struggle to gain middle-class acceptance. But this play is also about family and dreams; what it means to dream big, to lose faith in your dreams, and to discover new dreams.
What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? This question is posed in Langston Hughes poem "Harlem". Lorraine Hansberry explores this question in her award winning play “A Raisin In The Sun”.
A Raisin In The Sun made its debut on Broadway in 1959 as the first play written by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway. Although Hansberry’s play is arguably one of the greatest in the American theatrical cannon, we don’t get many opportunities to partake of this gem on stage. This is the first time A Raisin In the Sun has the opportunity to grace the stage of Community Players Theatre. We get the amazing opportunity to peer into the lives of The Younger’s, an African American family who are living in a tenement apartment on the South Side of Chicago, during the late 1950’s. The play explores such topics as, but not limited to, the American dream, racism, segregation, integration, gender, feminism, and Pan-Africanism.
Lorraine Hansberry was on time and ahead of her time with the writing of A Raisin In The Sun. Her work still speaks today. It speaks to recent events such as the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and this list goes on and on. May we all embrace the sentiments of Hansberry’s work of art and know that dreams do matter.
Thank you Lorraine Hansberry for speaking truth to power, and for letting the world know that Black Lives and Dreams do indeed matter.