Theater archives

Clybourne Park Director On How She Dealt With The Horror


This week’s column catches up with all the big Broadway shows of the season via my interviews with a slew of deeply honored Tony nominees.

One of them, Pam MacKinnon, deserves a separate writeup.

Pam did the socko direction for the Pulitzer wining Clybourne Park, which takes off from the racial progress classic A Raisin in The Sun by imagining what happens in the decades afterwards.

But the real drama is that at one point, producer Scott Rudin pulled out of moving the play to Broadway because playwright Bruce Norris had backed out of acting in Rudin’s TV pilot.

Was that period nerve wracking?

“Of course it was nerve wracking,” she told me. “Dreadful. And then it was fine.”

(They got other producers.)

MacKinnon said she learned that when she’s in emotional turmoil like that, “I’m not raging at the sun, moon, and stars–I get really sleepy.”

Let that be a lesson to all of us—lethargy gets you through, and then everything’s fine!

How has the play changed in its transition?

“It’s gotten deeper,” she told me. “There’s a lot of ugly racist stuff that comes to the fore, and we own that more, while not dropping the laughs.”

And the result is considered the frontrunner for Best Play.

Postscript: After all that, Rudin’s pilot wasn’t picked up anyway. I hear screaming. Anybody want to pick up a pilot?