Audiobook Review: A Raisin in the Sun

Audiobook Review: A Raisin in the SunA Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Length: 2 hrs, 19 mins
Published by LA Theatre Works on February 15, 2011
Genres: Historical
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased

Lorraine Hansberry's classic chronicle of The Youngers, a working class African American family struggling to maintain dignity in a harsh world, is a heroic testament of hope and a seminal American drama. A full-cast recording starring Rutina Wesley from the HBO hit series True Blood.

It’s really shameful how little I know about some classics in English literature. Prior to receiving this audiobook, I’m not sure whether I had ever even heard of A Raisin in the Sun. Since I had actual discs of this, I had to load it onto my iPod in three minute chunks as ‘songs,’ rather than as an audiobook. Unfortunately, this means that chunks kept coming on my shuffle, which I can tell you is really irritating, especially since one part begins with an alarm clock. Not cool. So, because of this, I was a bit biased against this play and assumed I would hate it.

Well, sometimes, I don’t so much mind being wrong. This was a really good play, albeit a short one. It follows a brief period in the life of the Younger family of Chicago. They live in a small apartment, three generations all together. Even though all of them are working (or going to school) like they should be, money is tight.

However, there is a gleam of hope on the horizon, because an insurance check for $10,000 dollars is coming to Mama. Everyone in the family has their own idea of what should be done with the money. Mama wants to buy a house for everyone. Well, the down payment anyway. Beneatha wants money so she can attend medical school. Walter wants seed money for some money-making scheme with his drinking buddies.

The characters all seem very real in the way they interact and behave. I love the little squabbles they get into, which are so…family.

The Performance:
Everyone in the cast did a completely awesome job. I really liked all of their voices, and they all seemed well matched to the characters. Fun fact: Beneatha is actually voiced by the actress who plays Tara on True Blood.

I wasn’t sure how it would be to listen to a play being acted out. I thought it might be confusing, especially since I did not have a copy of the play with me while I was listening. Plays are meant to be watched, so I thought I might lose out on some things. Well, I’m sure I did, and I would like to see it performed. However, it doesn’t feel like I really missed out on anything enjoying the play this way.

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