Kyle Bass, the playwright of Possessing Harriet, is set to present Inventing Gerrit Smith: A Playwright’s Journey, for the annual recognition of abolitionist Gerrit Smith’s birth in 1797, on Saturday, March 2nd at 1 pm at the Smithfield Community Center, 5255 Pleasant Valley Road in Peterboro, NY.
Kyle Bass spent time at the Gerrit Smith Estate during his preparations for writing a play, which was commissioned by the Onondaga Historical Association. The play is about Harriet Powell, an enslaved woman who escaped from slavery with the help of a waiter at a hotel in Syracuse, shelter in Smith’s home in Peterboro, and transportation to Canada. After months of research and writing Bass’s drama that debuted at Syracuse Stage October 17, 2018.
The setting is 1839 in the attic of the Smith home in Peterboro where Harriet is secreted while waiting for the final leg of her journey to Canada. Bass, through the four characters (Tom Leonard, Harriet Powell, Gerrit Smith, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton), pulls the audience into the human factors and tensions of two mighty movements swelling in the nation with their pulses beating from Central New York.
Kyle Bass holds an MFA from Goddard College where he has taught creative writing since 2006. He is the Associate Artistic Director at Syracuse Stage, teaches playwriting at Syracuse University, and is the Burke Endowed Chair for Regional Studies at Colgate University for the Spring 2019 term. A two-time recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for fiction and play writing, Bass has many one act plays, full-length plays, and screen plays to his credit, is the drama editor for the journal Stone Canoe, and is the creator and curator of Cold Read Festival of new plays.
Following the program, a walk to the site of setting of the play will be guided. The public is encouraged to attend. Admission is free.
For more information, call (315) 280-8828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo of Kyle Bass by Brenna Merritt.