Thanks to a posting on Wendy Rosenfield's Drama Queen blog, we're pleased to learn that an article posted yesterday by The Chicago Tribune reports that back in 2005, President Barrack and First Lady Michelle Obama attended a performance of Northlight Theatre's production of PERMANENT COLLECTION, a drama that received it's World Premiere at InterAct in 2003.
For those who missed it, PERMANENT COLLECTION uses a fictionalized account of the story behind the Barnes Foundation to frame a compelling and thought-provoking examination of race relations in the United States. Written by InterAct's Resident Playwright, Thomas Gibbons, PERMANENT COLLECTION is, to date, the best-selling play in InterAct's history and has gone on to become one of our most subsequently produced premieres, with over two dozen national and international productions.
This all served to remind me that I had neglected to post a note about InterAct's recent visit to the Barnes Foundation:
During the recent run of THE RANT, InterAct Artistic Director Seth Rozin arranged for a field trip to the Barnes for the production's playwright, actors and InterAct's administrative staff. Having grown up in the neighborhood nearby, Seth thought it would be a fascinating point of local interest for Aldo Billingslea and Andrew Case, the production's out-of-town artists, as well as an important lesson in InterAct history for the show's artists, the staff and a few close friends of the company, since most of us had not visited the inspiration behind the company's biggest hit. He also thought it was important for us to go while the Barnes is still in its original home in Lower Merion, before it's relocation to the museum district in Center City, since changes to the permanent collection (hence the title) serves the most pivotal role in the plot of the script.
Left to Right: Seth Rozin, Julie Grega, Rebecca Wright, Jessica Hurley, Dwight Wilkins, Kimberly Fairbanks, David Golston, Aldo Billingslea, Elena Araoz and Daniel Sumile. Not pictured: Kathy Jaffari, Andrew Case, Kia Feindt, David Ingram, Joshua Lieberman and David & Ziva Brown
On a personal note, before moving to Philadelphia I had the privilege of working on a production of PERMANENT COLLECTION at Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City, MO. Prior to researching the play, I had no knowledge of the Barnes - I was soley drawn into the play's dramatic story and important message. Throughout the course of marketing the show I learned a lot about the Barnes and its unique creation and subsequent history, however, nothing prepared me for the jaw-dropping experience of seeing it in person. I was taken, as was most of the those in our group, by complete surprise at the astounding quality (and sheer volume) of a collection that was originally amassed as the whim of one man's passion. Everyone in our group left that day with a renewed appreciation for the power and beauty that amazing art brings to the world...
- David Golston, Director of Marketing & PR