Plenty of drama

Among the shows opening this weekend (and it’s one of those traffic jams, as a number of local theater companies kick off their fall seasons), we’ve got a pair of worthy dramas: classics of American theater that certainly deserve our close attention. Celebration Arts opens A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry’s play of black middle-class aspirations and struggles in urban Chicago. Raisin takes its title from the Langston Hughes poem “Harlem,” and reflects the stress placed on a family at odds over the American Dream. The other classic of American theater is Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, opening at Big Idea Theatre. In this instance, the American Dream has become a nightmare, as one of the stage’s great tragic heroines, Blanche DuBois, reaches backward for a past built on the labor of others. While scheduling these opposite visions of American history probably wasn’t planned by the respective companies, it certainly does make for an interesting juxtaposition—and for a drama lover’s dream weekend.