NEW YORK — Actors Oscar Isaac and Rachel Brosnahan star in the revival of a Lorraine Hansberry that was last staged on Broadway 50 years ago.
They sat down with CBS2’s Dave Carlin to talk about the play and the playwright.
“Playing Iris, she’s like a sheet in the wind. She is so moved by everything and everyone around her and expresses herself so fully moment to moment in a way that feels really different,” Brosnahan said.
Brosnahan, star of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and Isaac, familiar from “Star Wars” and Marvel’s “Moon Knight,” are transported by to Greenwich Village in the 1960s in Hansberry’s “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window.”
“We see you [Brosnahan] so dressed impeccably, and we see you [Isaac] as a hero in a lot of things, and these characters are not that,” Carlin said.
“No,” Brosnahan said.
“There’s a lot of mess there,” Carlin said.
“The horrible things they say and yet within that there is such beautiful humanity,” Isaac said.
“Every single character in this play is profoundly and radically human,” Brosnahan said.
“The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” originally came to Broadway in the mid-60s, after Hansberry had already penned her masterpiece “A Raisin in the Sun.” She died of pancreatic cancer in 1965 at age 34.
This production is a transfer from the Brooklyn Academic of Music’s Harvey Theater, where it was hit, to Broadway’s James Earl Jones Theatre.
“Did you hope that it would make a transfer?” Carlin asked.
“The fact that somehow things lined up the way they did … and to transfer it within a few weeks, it’s wild,” Isaac said
“That this show could have another life… I just kind of bent my knees and was ready to see what happened and jumped on board,” Brosnahan said.
The play’s lead characters bicker, caught in fraught marriage, surrounded by tumultuous events, and they wrestle with notions of what it means to be bohemian, intellectual or progressive and striving for change.
“What can you tell me about the play in terms of its structure and the way it’s written and it’s written by this great playwright?” Carlin asked.
“She wrote this beautiful, beautifully perfect, immaculate play, ‘A Raisin in the Sun,’ and, as she was on her way out of this world, had so many things that she wanted to say and didn’t care about a perfectly made play. She wanted to say something in that imperfect way that life feels like,” Isaac said.
“It’s incredibly inspiring to watch someone who was as young as Lorraine was give so much to the world as an activist, as an artist and as a person, and I can only imagine what more she would have had to give if she was still around. It’s a really profound loss, but we feel really, really lucky to get to grapple with some of her questions through this play,” Brosnahan said.
“The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” runs on Broadway through July 2.
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