Before curtain rises, we can hear Ruth singing "Hallelujah!" Taking care of last minute packing, Ruth is in a good mood. She tells Beneatha about how she and Walter went to the movies together for the first time in a long time. And they even held hands.
Walter comes in and seduces Ruth into a slow dance. The mood is jolly…until a man appears at the door, introducing himself as Karl Lindner, a member of the Clybourne Park Improvement Association.
Through niceties and stammering, Karl basically says that the current people in the neighborhood don’t want the Youngers to move in because of the color of their skin – in fact, they don’t want them there to the point of offering to buy the house for more than it was sold for!
Mr. Lindner tells the Youngers that the residents of Clybourne are working-class and have worked hard, and that they’re ready to protect their dreams.
Isn’t that ironic.
Karl claims the whole proposal is really just in the Youngers’ best interest.
They tell him to scram. Effectively.
When Mama arrives, the adults relay the episode and then present her with the gift of gardening tools. Travis chimes in and presents her with a gaudy gardening hat. Mama is overcome. Prior to this, she has only received presents at Christmas.
They continue packing; someone knocks at the door.
Walter is joyful with expectation and answers the door to find Bobo.
Unfortunately, it becomes clear that Bobo is not happy to be there. Ruth doesn’t know what’s going on but she senses danger immediately.
Finally Bobo drops the bomb: Walter’s supposed friend, Willy, disappeared with all their liquor store money.
Walter tries the deny, deny, deny defense and is all pumped to track down Willy. Bobo points out that it’s really a lost cause.
By now the family has entered the room and has heard everything.
Lena asks Walter if all of it is gone – even Beneatha’s portion – and Walter confesses that he never created the checking account.
Lena starts beating him on the head, guilt-tripping him about how he just flushed his dad’s life’s work down the drain in one day.