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‘Raisin in the Sun’ doesn’t prune with age

The Brooklyn Paper
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The Gallery Players powerful take on the racially-charged classic “A Raisin in the Sun” is the Morgan Freeman of plays: it’s more than 70 years old and still relevant.

The story follows a pre-civil rights era black family from Chicago that wants to break out of poverty — and stay true to itself — after coming across a life-changing chunk of money, and its themes can be applied to modern-day, gentrifying Brooklyn, its maker says.

“It’s amazing how contemporary it still is — it empowers women and families,” said producer Brian Michael Flanagan.

The acclaimed play, which opens on March 17, displays a modern understanding of racism, using innuendo and subtle jabs, especially as the family tries to use its newfound wealth to move to a white neighborhood.

Director Reginald Douglas puts his own spin on the play: in one case, he reinterprets a grumpy racist landlord character, transforming him into a well-meaning but ignorant old man, which adds up to a more subtle, less “in-your-face” depiction of racial tension.

In another, Douglas adds an eavesdropping child to a fight scene to show how attitudes about race can be passed on to younger generations.

“The text is so rich — and it comes during a powerful time in history,” Flanagan said. “It’s really quite beautiful.”

“A Raisin in the Sun” at Gallery Players [199 14th St. between Fourth and Fifth avenue in Park Slope, (718) 832-0617], March 17 through April 1. Tickets $18 ($14 for children and seniors). For info, visit www.galleryplayers.com.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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