The OHA commissioned play Possessing Harriet, from local playwright Kyle Bass, will make its world premiere this fall at Syracuse Stage. Previously, it had been chosen by Ithaca’s Kitchen Theatre, a professional equity theater, for its 2016 New Play Development Program at the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. as well as for a New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA) performance at SUNY Delhi.
You can learn more about the story behind the play in this article.
This inspirational chapter of our location history imagines a conversation between an enslaved woman, Harriet Powell, and a young Elizabeth Cady, the fierce advocate for women’s rights. The conversation takes place in an attic room in the Peterboro, New York, home of abolitionist Gerrit Smith as Harriet, having slipped away from a Syracuse hotel and the family who owns her, awaits her departure north on the Underground Railroad. This absorbing drama unfolds in real time, as danger nears and Harriet must make a life-altering decision.
“I am humbled and honored that Bob has chosen this play to be produced at Syracuse Stage,” said Bass who has previously been represented at the theater with “Cry for Peace: Voices from the Congo,” co-written with Ping Chong, and “Separated,” based on the experiences of Syracuse University students in and out of military service.