"Clybourne Park" Q&A with Michelle "Chelly" Purnell and Thsnat Berhe
Welcome to the third?installment of our Q&A featuring the cast and crew of Redwood Curtain’s production of Clybourne Park, written by Bruce Norris and directed by James Floss. This week we feature Michelle “Chelly” Purnell and Thsnat Berhe.
Clybourne Park?by Bruce Norris
April 30 to May 23
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm. Sunday matinee on May 17?at 2pm.
Directed by James Floss
Clybourne Park explodes in two outrageous acts set fifty years apart. Act One takes place in 1959, as nervous community leaders anxiously try to stop the sale of a home to a black family. Act Two is set in the same house in the present day, as the now predominantly African-American neighborhood battles to hold its ground in the face of gentrification. This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning comedy is savagely funny and insightful.
“Vital, sharp-witted and ferociously smart.” –?NY Times
When were you last on the Redwood Curtain stage?
Chelly: This is my first time on the RTC stage. You may have seen me in other productions at HSU (Shakuntala, Hater and Playhouse Creatures) and inside of a recent community show that traveled to multiple venues: The Good Body.
Thsnat: I have never been on the RCT stage.
What characters do you play? Tell us about them.
Chelly: I play two completely different characters in Clyborne Park. I play a domestic maid, Francine, that works for Bev and Russ Stroller in the year 1959. I also play Lena, whom is named after her great aunt Lena Younger and is ninth generation to the Younger family from A Raisin in the Sun.
Thsnat: I play Kevin and Albert. Albert is more grounded and down to earth while Kevin is very ambitious.
What attracted you do doing his show?
Chelly: I was attracted to doing this show because it brings up a lot of social issues that personally affect me, such as racism and bigotry. I think that these messages are important to bring up, especially in this community.
Thsnat: I absolutely love the script. It’s marvelous.
What do you hope audiences come away with as the leave the theatre?
Chelly: I hope they walk away with the tools to open up a dialogue about the social issues that are brought up during the show.
Thsnat: I want the audience to see how the script reflects in real life, and showcases the subtleties of race that tend to be pushed under the carpet.