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Posts Tagged H. Adam Harris

Personal Highlights of the Past Season

The Diary of Anne Frank at Park Square Theatre in Saint Paul, MN - 2018 - Actors playing Anne Frank & Father

It has been 75 years since Anne Frank was given a diary by her father. The Diary of Anne Frank remains a perennial favorite of school groups. This coming season, limited evening performances will also be available. (Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma)

Always, the Education Program

Park Square takes great pride in its Education Program for good reasons. It’s a powerfully transformative program, not just for its effect on its young audiences but also as an inspiration within our own organization. Mindfully created and led by the incomparable Mary Finnerty since 1994, the Education Program has often served as first exposure of professional theatre to young audiences. But you can see how it’s much more than that in such defining moments as when the lightbulb of understanding lit up for a student while Sulia Rose Altenberg, who played Anne Frank, answered his question as to why the Jews didn’t simply pretend to be Christians or the teacher of a Somali group explained that they came to be exposed to a broader community. Our Education Program provides a safe venue for our young patrons to grapple with self-discovery, self-definition and social interconnectedness. It has also been a catalyst for Park Square to consider those very same issues within its own walls. Impactful is only one adjective that best describes “The Program That Mary Built” (see the August 16, 2016, blog post).

A Raisin in the Sun at Park Square Theatre in Saint Paul, MN - 2018

A Raisin in the Sun knocked our socks off and will be back for another season by popular demand. (Photo by Connie Shaver)

Staying In the Thick of It

Park Square Theatre, with its long-held reputation as a white mainstream institution, has had to do much organizational soul-searching to embrace change. Is having to grapple with equity, diversity and inclusion a long and messy process? Does building trust feel hard-won or, more aptly, simply hard? Do they sometimes get things wrong (and, of course, right)? Have they kept forging ahead? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Mu Performing Arts co-produced Flower Drum Song with Park Square Theatre and returns with another production in the upcoming season.

The Independents

Collaborations with smaller independent companies through its co-production of Flower Drum Song with Mu Performing Arts and productions by its Theatres in Residence–Sandbox Theatre, Theatre Pro Rata and Girl Friday Productions–broadened the season’s scope. I loved the “one-stop shop” to be able to try out new companies and see what they’re all about. Look forward to French Twist by Flying Foot Forum and the return of Mu Performing Arts for A Korean Drama Addict’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity in our upcoming season.

H. Adam Harris and Kathryn Fumie in this past season’s The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence
(Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma)

The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence

Having been one of the volunteer script readers to consider this complex, time-jumping, contemporary play for production, it was exciting to see it finally come to fruition on stage. The thumbs up on the script was actually a tough call, surmising its challenge for audiences to grasp–both its pro and con. The play really made me think about the state of human relationships in our techno-world. Did it do the same for you? It also had one of the most beautiful sets ever by Set Designer Lance Brockman and moving performances by actors Kathryn Fumie, Adam Whisner and H. Adam Harris in roles that let their own true souls shine through their fictional facades. Hope you were there! Note: Contact John White, Literary Management Volunteer (white@Parksquaretheatre.org), to discuss your interest to become a volunteer script reader.

Jamil Jude with Hope Cervantes, who was in this past season’s The House on Mango Street
(Photo by Connie Shaver)

Jamil Jude, Park Square’s former Artistic Programming Associate

When Jamil had just been on board for several months, someone asked me, “Do you even know what he does here?” Guess what a young man with an expansive heart and the passion to build bridges and break down walls has done within his relatively short time in the Twin Cities community? Break a leg at your new gig in Atlanta! (Refer to past blogs “Jamil Jude, Artist Plus,” “What’s That Got to Do With Jamil Jude?” and “Jamil Jude, We’ll Miss You.”)

The Conversations That Became Real

Eric "Pogi" Sumangil

Eric “Pogi” Sumangil

In an industry that endlessly tries to grab a piece of you, remaining guarded is an act of self-care and self-preservation. You’re constantly navigating the minefields of others’ self-interests and being put in compromising situations. Who do you want to be in those circumstances? Who must you become? Who are you really? Whenever you get a glimpse into a theatre professional’s inner humanity, it’s a golden moment for sure! Theatre professionals rock!

Vincent HannamMy Fellow Bloggers

Getting Eric “Pogi” Sumangil on the team for this past season and blogging for another year with the wholehearted Vincent Hannam were awesome, to say the least. As the only blogger without a theatre background and career, following these two’s works online and onstage served as terrific learning tools. Each of us wrote around complex schedules due to multiple gigs and personal responsibilities. Thanks for being there!

 

On Stage: Creating a Community Dialogue Around Live Theater

Through Springboard for the Arts, a nationally recognized nonprofit arts service organization based in St. Paul, representative Lucas Erickson has launched his new theater outreach program called On Stage: Creating a Community Dialogue Around Live Theater.

On Stage raises awareness of the theater offerings in the Twin Cities to academic classes and groups. It brings local actors to Twin Cities college classrooms and community settings to read scenes from a play in current local production. Participants then engage in a lively discussion of the play’s themes, tying in current events, personal values and narratives to stimulate critical thinking. Subsequently attending the full play is encouraged.

Erickson had created the basic program concept a few years ago while working in Artistic Relations at the Guthrie Theater. Last fall, Erickson enacted a similar program through a nonprofit youth organization called Project SUCCESS around Mixed Blood Theater’s production of An Octoroon.

Now with On Stage, Erickson has programmed readings and discussions around Park Square Theatre’s A Raisin in the Sun by playwright Lorraine Hansberry, which will be on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage from October 28 to November 20. The play is about a family living and struggling on Chicago’s South Side in the 1950s, trying to improve their lives with an insurance payout following the death of the father. A Raisin in the Sun was the first play written by an African-American woman to be produced on Broadway.

cast-raisin-9-12

The talented cast of A Raisin in the Sun at Park Square Theatre

Local actors/teaching artists Harry Waters Jr, Thomasina Petrus and H. Adam Harris will be facilitating the On Stage events on A Raisin in the Sun. The first one is free and open to the public at the East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier Street, St. Paul, on October 19, 7 to 8 pm. More information is available at http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/event/raisin-play-discussion-script-reading/.

On Stage will also outreach to students of the University of St. Thomas, Augsburg College, Macalester College, the University of Minnesota and St. Catherine University throughout October. However, these events will not be open to the public.

“The purpose of the program is to make local theater relevant to younger and non-traditional audiences and to lay the groundwork for building future theater audiences,” said Erickson.

Lucas Erickson, creator of the On Stage theatre outreach program Photograph by Linda Peterson

Lucas Erickson, creator of the On Stage theatre outreach program
Photograph by Linda Peterson

Erickson has had a long and deep commitment to theater and the arts. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in theater and is currently pursuing a masters in Arts and Cultural Leadership at the University of Minnesota. Since 2013, Erickson has worked on various projects for Creative Community Builders, an organization that helps communities identify different cultural and creative assets. He also serves on the Advisory Board for Made Here, a program spearheaded by the Hennepin Theatre Trust to put local art in vacant downtown storefronts.

Park Square Theatre, with a robust Education Program committed to serving middle- and high-school students throughout Minnesota and its surrounding states, is truly honored that Erickson has chosen to share our production of A Raisin in the Sun in his outreach efforts.

 

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