For each of their shows, about a week before previews, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater hosts an open rehearsal. Tonight, audiences get a sneak peek at Gloria Bond Clunie’s “Living Green,” a story of an upwardly mobile African-American family living on the North Shore but contemplating a move back to the West Side.
For this open rehearsal, the cast runs through the first scene of the second act. The scene, set in a living room, perfectly accommodates a discussion and seems to encourage more candid conversation among the director, playwright, actors and audience.
While discussing her collaboration with the dramaturge, for example, experienced playwright Clunie makes one particularly real confession. “I thought they were saying Drama Turd! I thought they were!”
One most affected audience member, shocked by the idea of a move back to the dangerous West Side, repeatedly questions the writer, director and cast. “Do you know what the West Side is?” she implores incredulously.
All acknowledge that the play asks tough questions and presents no easy answers. “This play is interesting and exciting,” says director Andrea J. Dymon, “because what we do not see onstage is upwardly mobile black folks and what we do not talk about in the black community is who we become—and if we want to be who we become—when we leave black communities.”
“I am not brave enough to be these people, I wish I were,” shares Clunie. “Sometimes plays give you the chance to be braver, to stretch more.” (Meaghan Strickland)