Ludwig brings out every oily drop of Karl’s condescension in the first act, and is just as adept communicating the spring-loaded nature of Steve, the new owner of the house, in the second (no-clue Steve just can’t wait to stop “the same, predictable little euphemistic tap dance around” race). Sokolowski shines as Steve’s wife Lindsey, and, even more so, as the deaf Betsy in Act 1.
Dukes tellingly captures Francine’s dignity and simmering resentment, Lena’s cool exterior and the wounds underneath.
Hudson goes over the top as Albert in a kind of Chris Rock-does-Stepin Fetchit way. All the roles in Act 1 invite mannerism and exaggeration, perhaps, but Hudson’s performance stands out strangely. He’s spot-on, though, as the good-natured Kevin. Knoll is particularly effective as the absurdly smiley reverend in Act 1.
Scenic designer Jack Magaw has conjured up a finely atmospheric home, beautifully lit by Thom Weaver. Reggie Ray’s costumes set the period for each act perfectly.
Next month, Center Stage will unveil company artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah’s latest play, “Beneatha’s Place,” a response to “Clybourne Park.” It also springs from “A Raisin in the Sun,” contains a character from the Hansberry classic, and starts in 1959 before moving to the present day.
Looks like the conversation on race is going to get more interesting and intense by the day around here.