Re-writing the future of theatre


Photo courtesy of bewise/Flickr

Itzel Giron, Editor-in-Chief

Throughout many years, people of many races have impacted our lives, many of them being unaware of the impact they would have on the future. For Lorraine Hansbury, revolutionizing the world of theatre was not something planned in her short lifetime. 

Being the first Black woman to have her play be produced on Broadway, it opened doors for those who would follow in her footsteps like August Wilson, Dominique Morisseau and Ntozake Shange. Her impact was not just felt in big theatre cities such as New York or Chicago, but it has impacted many on a college theatre level.  

Here at UTEP, the Theatre Department has looked up to Hansbury and her talented writing skills; even looking at her work in classes such as Script Analysis. Assistant Professor of Theatre, Rebecca Mayer, who taught script analysis this past fall, knows Hansbury’s work such as “A Raisin in the Sun” can impact future playwrights. 

“It was important to me to include ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ in that class for a variety of reasons. It’s really valuable to study realistic family dramas of the 20th century,” Mayer said. “It is unique to find a family drama from that era that was written by a woman, that was written by a black writer, that was written by a black woman, queer writer. So that was to me the significance of one of the significant things about using ‘Raisin in the Sun.’ So, it is a family drama. It is in a realistic style. It is (a) realistic dialogue.” 

 “A Raisin in the Sun” debuted in 1959, when the Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum in the desegregation of the nation, which caused mixed reviews of the play. However, after many revivals the play continues to represent families across the country, further proving that Hansbury’s skill level of playwriting can impact anyone even today. 

“I think the fact that the play has been revived so many times on Broadway since the original production really speaks to the fact that the play is still relevant today, because it is such an authentic depiction,” Mayer said. “Before this play, people of color were depicted on stage in comedic roles, or as maids, or roles were written for people of color that were acted out by white people.”  

Hansbury’s work still has many lives to impact, but many can take her work now and be inspired to write, produce, direct or star in the next version “A Raisin in the Sun.” 

Itzel Giron is the editor-in-chief and may be reached at [email protected]; @by.itzel.giron on Instagram; @itzel_anahi_16 on Twitter.