Arts

After 60 Years, Lorraine Hansberry’s ‘A Raisin In The Sun’ Remains Relevant

Director Nick Starr and actress Isa Miles talked with “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes about their production of "A Raisin in the Sun" on stage through Sunday at Marietta’s New Theatre in the Square.
Director Nick Starr and actress Isa Miles talked with “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes about their production of "A Raisin in the Sun" on stage through Sunday at Marietta’s New Theatre in the Square.
Credit Claire Reynolds / WABE

Thursday’s “City Lights” was devoted to groundbreaking playwright and civil rights activist Lorraine Hansberry.

She is remembered as saying, “One cannot live with sighted eyes and feeling heart and not know or react to the miseries which afflict this world.”

Hansberry reacted.

She told the stories of people who struggled with the oppression of racial segregation, as her family had.

Her play “A Raisin in the Sun” was about a black family living in Southside Chicago. In 1959, it was the first play written by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway.

For this play, Hansberry became the youngest person to win the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award at the age of 29.

Now, the New Theatre in the Square is bringing Chicago’s Southside to Marietta.

“A Raisin in the Sun” is on stage through Sunday, with 7:30 p.m. evening shows and 2:30 p.m. matinee shows this weekend.

Actress Isa Miles, who plays Ruth, and director Nick Starr joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes to talk about the production.

Miles said the most common feedback is how resonant the play is after six decades.

“It’s amazing how relevant the themes are. It’s timeless. It sparks conversation and makes you want to know more,” she said.

She also spoke of the “goosebump moments” of playing the iconic role of Ruth Younger, originally played by Ruby Dee.

“It feels like a blessing to touch audiences and know that what you are doing is making a difference,” Miles said. “Not only is it making people talk, it’s making them laugh and cry. They are taking a break from their life, and they are sharing it with us.”