Harriet Jacobs - The Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Harriet Jacobs - The Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Harriet Jacobs - The Kansas City Repertory Theatre


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ISSUE<br />




From top: <strong>The</strong> cast of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>; Nambi Kelley (<strong>Harriet</strong>)<br />

and Cheryl Lynn Bruce (Grandma); Cheryl Lynn Bruce<br />

(Grandma) and Phillip James Brannon (Tom/Ensemble).<br />

Photos: Bob Compton Photography.

Photo: Michael McClure<br />

Dear Friends,<br />



Welcome to our production of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>, a new play based on one of the most<br />

historically significant autobiographies ever published.<br />

I first encountered <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl in college, and still<br />

remember how her powerful book rendered the history of slavery into something potent,<br />

felt and personal. Her personal account of the totalitarian system of control that subjected<br />

millions to untold suffering over hundreds of years changed the world by telling the truth.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> is one of the great figures in American history, and she helped change the<br />

world by daring to tell her story.<br />

Many generations later, my dear friend Lydia Diamond has created a new play that brings<br />

fresh theatrical life to <strong>Jacobs</strong>’ story. In collaboration with one of my favorite directors,<br />

Jessica <strong>The</strong>bus, and a truly brilliant acting ensemble and team of designers, we share a<br />

compelling, powerful vision of the triumph of the human spirit against unimaginable<br />

oppression and adversity.<br />

I am so proud to introduce this beautiful, harrowing new play to <strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> audiences, and<br />

I am grateful to this wonderful company of artists for sharing their work with us.<br />

My very best,<br />

Eric Rosen<br />

Artistic Director<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 3

THE PLAY<br />


Note: All roles are portrayed by African-American actors.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong><br />

We meet <strong>Harriet</strong>, a slave on the Norcom plantation in Edenton, NC, when she is 15 years old. She possesses<br />

an intelligence and centeredness beyond her years. <strong>The</strong>se traits are equally attributable to the strength<br />

that surely any slave must have had to endure, and a personal wisdom and acuity passed down from<br />

insightful parents and grandparents. <strong>Harriet</strong> has a social savvyness, a dexterity that serves her well both<br />

with her family, peers, and slave-owners. She is very educated, and slips easily between a more casual slave<br />

vernacular of the time to the formal language used in her writing, and when addressing the audience. She<br />

is not “putting this on” or “talking proper,” she is an adept and unconscious “code-switcher.” She is pretty,<br />

but does not embrace nor consciously exploit her looks; in her setting they are more often a liability than a<br />

blessing and she is aware of this.<br />

Grandma<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong>’s strong-willed, well-liked, free grandmother.<br />

Mary<br />

A house servant and field hand, Mary has fewer of <strong>Harriet</strong>’s social and language graces. She is in awe of,<br />

and dangerously jealous of, <strong>Harriet</strong>.<br />

Tom<br />

A field slave. Handsome, strong, good natured, and charismatic. He loves <strong>Harriet</strong>.<br />

Master Norcom<br />

<strong>The</strong> White Master. <strong>The</strong> town doctor, he carries himself with a confident swagger. He fancies himself a<br />

Godly, family man.<br />

Mistress Norcom<br />

<strong>The</strong> White Mistress. Once beautiful and carefree, she is a victim of her environment. She is hateful toward<br />

her female slaves and wary of her husband. She has born a child every year since her marriage at 17.<br />

Samuel Treadwell Sawyer<br />

A white lawyer from a prestigious family. He is intrigued by <strong>Harriet</strong>’s intellect and physically attracted to<br />

her.<br />

Daniel<br />

A field slave.<br />

Joseph and Louisa<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong>’s children.<br />

Cast members also play a variety of ensemble roles.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 4

THE PLAY<br />


Setting: A crawl space measuring nine feet long, seven feet wide and three feet high and other<br />

locales in Edenton, North Carolina.<br />

Time Period: 1827-1832<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

“I found my voice... so that my voice might find its way into the world….”<br />

- <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong><br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> is inspired by the true story of <strong>Harriet</strong> Ann <strong>Jacobs</strong>, who wrote Incidents in the Life of a Slave<br />

Girl (1861), one of the first open discussions about the abuses endured by slave women. Playwright Lydia<br />

Diamond’s adaptation weaves other slave narratives and spirituals into <strong>Harriet</strong>’s story, resulting in a<br />

powerful testament of personal resilience and an unflinching look at the female slave experience.<br />

We meet <strong>Harriet</strong> in the tiny confines of the crawl space above her Grandmother’s house where she has<br />

found refuge. As the play begins, she appeals to the audience, “I must explain. If you would understand.<br />

Please. I try to understand myself. This reality that has brought me to, this reality. I try to make sense of it,<br />

and so I ask that you try as well.”<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong>’s life is different from many in her situation. She is educated, having been taught to read and write<br />

by a former mistress, and has never been physically harmed. As a house slave, her station in life is<br />

seemingly more comfortable than other slaves, like her friend Mary, who must also work in the field. And,<br />

she is fortunate to have access to her well-liked Grandmother, a freed slave, who passes down her wisdom<br />

and personal strength.<br />

But <strong>Harriet</strong> knows that, as a slave, her body is not her own. For years, starting at age 12, she has fended off<br />

the sexual advances of her master, Dr. Norcom, enduring his constant harassment along with the tirades of<br />

his jealous wife. For protection, she begins a relationship with a white, unmarried lawyer, Samuel Treadwell<br />

Sawyer, hoping this liaison will end her torment. Instead, Norcom continues to pursue her even after she<br />

bears Sawyer two children. When Norcom threatens to sell her children, <strong>Harriet</strong> plans her escape.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong>’s story is, ultimately, one of survival and triumph. Though enslaved, she finds her voice, leaving us<br />

the legacy of her journey from slavery to freedom.<br />

<strong>The</strong> run time for <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> is approximately two hours, including intermission.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 5

THE PLAY<br />


HARRIET ANN JACOBS, 1813–1897<br />

Slave, freedom fighter, abolitionist, reformer and author,<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> Ann <strong>Jacobs</strong> is best remembered today primarily<br />

for a single published work, her autobiographical<br />

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861).<br />

<strong>Jacobs</strong> was born February 11, 1813, in the port town of<br />

Edenton, North Carolina to biracial parents, Elijah and<br />

Delilah <strong>Jacobs</strong>. <strong>The</strong> family also included her brother,<br />

John. Following the death of her mother, six-year-old<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> was sent to live with Margaret Horniblow, her<br />

mother’s mistress, who welcomed the girl into the home<br />

and taught her to read and write. Just a few years later,<br />

when <strong>Harriet</strong> was twelve, Margaret died. <strong>Harriet</strong> had<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

hoped to be emancipated, but instead was bequeathed<br />

to the woman’s three year-old niece, Mary Matilda, the<br />

daughter of Dr. James Norcom. Moving with her brother<br />

into the Norcom household, <strong>Harriet</strong> began years of<br />

fending off the sexual advances of the doctor and the<br />

jealous tirades of his wife.<br />

As a young woman of sixteen, <strong>Jacobs</strong> fell in love with a<br />

free black carpenter, but Dr. Norcom refused to let them<br />

marry, preferring to pursue her for himself. Rebelling<br />

against the eventual certainty that she would be forced<br />

to submit to Norcom’s sexual demands, <strong>Jacobs</strong><br />

encouraged a relationship with Samuel Treadwell<br />

Sawyer, a young, unmarried, white lawyer and future<br />

U.S. Congressman. Together, they had two children, a<br />

son, Joseph, born in 1829 and a daughter, Louisa<br />

Matilda, born in 1833.<br />

Angered by <strong>Jacobs</strong>’ continued rejection, Norcom turned<br />

down Sawyer’s requests to purchase <strong>Jacobs</strong> and their<br />

children and instead sent her to a plantation owned by<br />

his son. After learning that her children would also work<br />

there as plantation slaves, <strong>Jacobs</strong> planned her escape,<br />

thinking that if she left, her children would be allowed to<br />

remain with her grandmother and avoid the brutalities of<br />

slavery. Initially, her plan backfired and the children and<br />

her brother were jailed until Sawyer arranged to buy<br />

them and send the children to live with their greatgrandmother<br />

in Edenton.<br />

In 1835, knowing that she needed to escape but lacking<br />

the means to do so, <strong>Jacobs</strong> hid at first in a swamp, and<br />

then sought shelter in her grandmother’s home. In her<br />

tiny attic refuge that measured only nine feet by seven<br />

feet and was just three feet at the highest point, <strong>Jacobs</strong><br />

suffered sensory deprivation and frostbite. But, through<br />

a tiny hole in the roof, she was able to watch and hear<br />

her children playing in the yard below.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 6

THE PLAY<br />


Mother and daughter were secretly and briefly<br />

reunited in 1840, and Louisa Matilda was eventually<br />

taken to her cousin’s home in Brooklyn. Freedom for<br />

<strong>Jacobs</strong> came on June 10, 1842, when she and her son<br />

Joseph boarded a ship that would take them to<br />

Philadelphia, and eventually to New York.<br />

<strong>Jacobs</strong> made a new life in New York, at first working as<br />

a nursemaid and then attending the Young Ladies<br />

Domestic Seminary School. By 1849, she had joined<br />

her brother in Rochester, where they established the<br />

Anti-Slavery Reading Room and became actively<br />

involved in the anti-slavery movement, meeting<br />

Quaker Amy Post and her husband Isaac, both staunch<br />

abolitionists, Frederick Douglass and other prominent<br />

figures of the day.<br />

Although she was now living and working in the North<br />

and openly involved in the abolitionist movement,<br />

liberty for <strong>Jacobs</strong> was still elusive. When the 1850<br />

Fugitive Slave Law was passed, <strong>Jacobs</strong> was forced to<br />

flee Rochester to avoid recapture by Norcom’s<br />

daughter, Mary Matilda, who wanted her returned.<br />

Finally, in 1852, her employer and anti-slavery<br />

sympathizer, Mrs. Cornelia Willis, contracted the<br />

Colonization Society to buy the freedom of <strong>Jacobs</strong> and<br />

her children. Her oppressors were paid $300, and, at<br />

last, <strong>Jacobs</strong> and her children were free.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

Dr. James Norcom posted this reward for <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> after she ran away<br />

from his son’s plantation.<br />

Now legally a free woman, <strong>Jacobs</strong> was encouraged by<br />

Amy Post to tell her story and, in 1853, she began<br />

writing Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Early<br />

attempts to publish the book failed, but <strong>Jacobs</strong><br />

persisted. With financial backing from friends, the book<br />

was printed in 1861, under the pseudonym Linda Brent.<br />

<strong>The</strong> British edition, <strong>The</strong> Deeper Wrong, was published<br />

the following year.<br />

Throughout the 1860s, <strong>Jacobs</strong> traveled extensively to<br />

speak out against slavery. Wherever she went, she used<br />

her influence to improve the lives of runaway slaves and<br />

poor free blacks, and she never relented in the battle to<br />

establish fair wages, land ownership and schools for<br />

blacks. Believing that education could provide a way out<br />

of poverty, <strong>Jacobs</strong> and her daughter Louisa opened the<br />

<strong>Jacobs</strong> Free School in Alexandria, Virginia, on<br />

January 11, 1864.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 7

THE PLAY<br />


Late in the 1860s, <strong>Jacobs</strong> operated a boarding house<br />

in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and two subsequent<br />

boarding houses in Washington, DC. Little is known of<br />

her life beyond that, except that by 1888 she was ill<br />

and having trouble finding work. After dedicating<br />

most of her life to the principles of freedom and<br />

dignity, <strong>Jacobs</strong> died largely unknown on March 7,<br />

1897. She was buried next to her brother in Mount<br />

Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, where her headstone<br />

reads, “Patient in tribulation, fervent in spirit serving<br />

the Lord.”<br />

Despite documentation, the authenticity of <strong>Jacobs</strong> as<br />

the author of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl<br />

was widely questioned. <strong>The</strong> book was never reprinted<br />

in her lifetime and it remained obscure until the<br />

Civil Rights and Women’s Movements of the 1960s<br />

and 1970s. Extensive archival work by Jean Fagan<br />

Yellin led to an authoritative edition being published<br />

by Harvard University Press in 1987, which firmly<br />

established <strong>Jacobs</strong> as the author of Incidents in the<br />

Life of a Slave Girl and returned her work to the<br />

American literary canon.<br />

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl has now become<br />

part of university curricula and has been translated<br />

into several languages. Once again, the extraordinary<br />

story of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> is inspiring people worldwide.<br />

Lara Mann<br />

Communications Intern<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 8



<strong>Harriet</strong> Ann <strong>Jacobs</strong> is born in Edenton, N.C. to Delilah and<br />

Elijah <strong>Jacobs</strong>.<br />

John S. <strong>Jacobs</strong>, <strong>Harriet</strong>’s brother, is born.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong>’s mother dies. At age six, <strong>Harriet</strong> goes to live with her<br />

mother’s white mistress, Margaret Horniblow, in Edenton.<br />

Through Miss Horniblow’s tutelage, <strong>Harriet</strong> learns how to<br />

read and write.<br />

Margaret Horniblow dies. <strong>Harriet</strong> is bequeathed to the woman’s three<br />

year-old niece, Mary Matilda Norcom. <strong>Harriet</strong> and her brother John<br />

move into the house of Dr. James Norcom. Over the years,<br />

Dr. Norcom’s unwanted sexual advances and his wife’s vindictive<br />

jealousy torment <strong>Harriet</strong>.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong>’s father dies.<br />

When Dr. Norcom forbids <strong>Harriet</strong> to marry a free black carpenter, she<br />

enters into a liaison with Samuel Treadwell Sawyer. <strong>Harriet</strong> is expelled<br />

from the Norcom house and goes to live with her freed grandmother,<br />

Molly Horniblow. Joseph, <strong>Harriet</strong>’s son by Samuel Treadwell Sawyer,<br />

is born.<br />

Louisa Matilda, <strong>Harriet</strong>’s daughter by Samuel Treadwell Sawyer,<br />

is born.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> is sent to the Norcom plantation several miles outside of<br />

Edenton, N.C. In June, when she learns her children will soon<br />

arrive to be “broken in,” <strong>Harriet</strong> runs away. She conceals herself<br />

in a small attic above a storeroom of her grandmother’s home.<br />

Her brother John and her two children are jailed until September<br />

and then sold to a trader acting for Samuel Treadwell Sawyer.<br />

<strong>The</strong> children go to live with <strong>Harriet</strong>’s grandmother in Edenton.<br />

John goes to Sawyer’s plantation outside Edenton.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

Dr. Norcom's house in Edenton, North Carolina.<br />

Dr. James Norcom, Sr.<br />

This historical marker is located on North Broad<br />

Street in Edenton. It was originally erected in<br />

1987.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 9



Samuel Treadwell Sawyer is elected to Congress. He leaves for<br />

Washington, D.C., taking <strong>Harriet</strong>’s brother, John, with him.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong>’s brother, John, runs away from Samuel Treadwell<br />

Sawyer.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong>’s daughter, Louisa Matilda, is reunited with her mother<br />

before leaving for Washington, D.C. with Sawyer, his wife and<br />

their baby. After five months there, she is taken to her cousin’s<br />

home in Brooklyn, N.Y.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> and her son Joseph board a ship that takes them to<br />

Philadelphia, and eventually to New York.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> joins her brother in Rochester, NY, where they<br />

establish the Anti-Slavery Reading Room and become<br />

actively involved in the anti-slavery movement.<br />

Northern friends purchase <strong>Harriet</strong> and emancipate her.<br />

Molly Horniblow dies in Edenton, N.C.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> begins writing her book.<br />

In Boston, <strong>Harriet</strong> self-publishes her book, Incidents in the<br />

Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself, using the pseudonym Linda<br />

Brent. <strong>The</strong> British edition follows the next year.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> performs relief work among freedmen in Washington,<br />

D.C., Alexandria, VA, and Savannah, GA. During this time period,<br />

she and Louisa Matilda open a school in Alexandria, VA and<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> runs a boarding home in Cambridge, MA.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> dies and is buried next to her brother in Mount Auburn<br />

Cemetery in Cambridge, MA.<br />

This timeline is based on information provided in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,<br />

Written by Herself, by <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>, <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> Timeline, http://xroads.virginia.edu.<br />

Title page of the 1861 publication<br />

of Incidents in the Life of a Slave<br />

Girl by <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong>’s home in Cambridge, MA.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>’ gravestone in Mt. Auburn<br />

Cemetery in Cambridge, MA.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 10

THE PLAY<br />


Lydia R. Diamond<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

Lydia R. Diamond is an award-winning playwright whose works have<br />

been seen across the country. Her plays include: Stick Fly (2010 LA<br />

Drama Critics Circle Award–Playwriting and Best Production, 2010 LA<br />

Garland Award–Playwriting, 2008 Susan S. Blackburn Finalist, 2006<br />

Black <strong>The</strong>atre Alliance Award–Best Play); Voyeurs de Venus (2006<br />

Joseph Jefferson Award–Best New Work, 2006 BTAA–Best Writing);<br />

<strong>The</strong> Bluest Eye (2006 Black Arts Alliance Image Award–Best New Play,<br />

2008 AATE Distinguished Play Award); <strong>The</strong> Gift Horse (<strong>The</strong>odore Ward<br />

Prize, Kesselring Prize 2nd Place); <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> (2010 Elliot Norton<br />

nomination–Best Play); and Lizzie Stranton.<br />

Ms. Diamond was a 2007 TCG/NEA Playwright in Residence at<br />

Steppenwolf, a 2006-07 Huntington Playwright Fellow and a 2009 NEA/<br />

Arena Stage New Play Development Grant Finalist. She is a TCG board<br />

member, a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and on the<br />

faculty at Boston University.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> was commissioned, and its world premiere presented by,<br />

Steppenwolf <strong>The</strong>atre Company in Chicago, IL. In addition to <strong>Harriet</strong>’s<br />

story, Ms. Diamond also incorporates spirituals and the narratives of<br />

other slaves into the play. In conjunction with the world premiere of<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> at Steppenwolf <strong>The</strong>atre company, Ms. Diamond was<br />

asked about the significance of these additions.<br />

LYDIA DIAMOND: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is actually one long slave narrative. <strong>The</strong> addition of other<br />

narratives is a means for providing the audience with context for <strong>Harriet</strong>’s story. <strong>The</strong>y paint a picture of the reality she<br />

is living in and the atrocities she is pleading with the audience to understand. <strong>The</strong> narratives also present characters<br />

with a fortitude and ingenuity… a sense of survival and more agency than slaves are typically depicted with.<br />

<strong>The</strong> spirituals are another piece of the fabric of the reality of slavery. <strong>The</strong>y’re haunting and beautiful and they served<br />

so many different purposes. Spirituals were used as a means of communication—outlining escape routes in the<br />

lyrics—and as preservation of a spiritual identity. In the play, they function to move the action along with their<br />

rhythm and, again, provide context for <strong>Harriet</strong>’s story.<br />

Lydia Diamond’s comments originally appeared in the <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> Discussion Guide, prepared by Steppenwolf for Young<br />

Adults. <strong>The</strong>y are reprinted here courtesy of Steppenwolf <strong>The</strong>atre Company.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 11



Jessica <strong>The</strong>bus, who holds a Ph.D. in Performance<br />

Studies from Northwestern University, is an Associate<br />

Artist at Steppenwolf <strong>The</strong>atre Company. She has<br />

What does <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> ask of us? We have all traveled to this room, to devote ourselves to her<br />

story. What would she have us do? Nambi [Kelley, who plays the title role of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>] and I were<br />

talking in the car yesterday and she said, “You just have to acknowledge the ancestors.” So I brought<br />

flowers to our room this morning as my own acknowledgement to the ancestors. I’ll keep flowers in the<br />

room every day we work—anyone is free to add to them in any way, and we will tell this story to honor<br />

those that lived it. How to tell it is our work together.<br />

We have in our hands, Lydia Diamond’s wonderful adaptation of <strong>Harriet</strong>’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave<br />

Girl. I am thrilled to be working with Lydia. We come out of the same program at Northwestern<br />

University, and so we both love literary adaptation, direct address and theatrical transformations. We<br />

love expressive moments that are not literal, tableaus and physical storytelling. We like putting intimately<br />

acted, deeply felt scenes against a tableau of movement and image. This combination of theatrical modes<br />

will be part of our task here. <strong>The</strong> story needs reality and intimacy as well as lyrical power.<br />

But as it happens, Lydia and I also have something else in common. We both suffer from vertigo -<br />

dizziness and lack of equilibrium that comes and goes with no explanation. I have sometimes had it when<br />

in rehearsal and, in one memorable instance, had to hold onto the edge of a table in order to stand and<br />

speak to the cast. Lydia tells me that she suffers from it when she works on <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> in particular.<br />

When she told me this, it did not surprise me. In a way, her story is one of dizziness for me as well.<br />

It is part of my job to imagine the attic. It was about nine feet long, seven feet wide and three feet high; it<br />

admitted no light until <strong>Harriet</strong> drilled a tiny hole. It was stifling in the summer and frigid in winter, with<br />

rodents and stinging insects. She could not stand up, and when she rolled over she bumped her head on<br />

the roof. She lived there seven years.<br />

When I imagine this, I can almost be made dizzy by the sickness and brutality of what led to that attic. I<br />

try to protect myself with my love of beauty and poetic image, but it is a struggle. How do we approach<br />

the vertigo we feel when confronted with the stories of slavery? Perhaps we reach for something to<br />

steady us, or a way to shut it out. We might tell ourselves, awful as it is, we have heard this before, we’ve<br />

seen these images in books, movies, the theater, conversations, passed down stories.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

directed extensively in Chicago and across the country.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> marks her directing debut with the Rep.<br />

Ms. <strong>The</strong>bus read the following notes on the production<br />

to the cast and staff members on the first day<br />

of rehearsal.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 12



And we here have such luxury—I can imagine and evoke<br />

that attic poetically; I don’t have to spend seven years<br />

there. But we are foolish if we think the pain, shame,<br />

and confusion does not affect us as we move through<br />

this story. It may not be Lydia’s vertigo for everyone, but<br />

it can affect the body and the spirit as we live with it, live<br />

next to it, let it speak through us. And I am foolish if I<br />

think it does not affect me differently, as a white woman,<br />

who does my job from behind a table instead of up on<br />

the stage living it.<br />

It can be difficult to feel the solidity<br />

of the ground beneath us to stand<br />

firmly in this story. Where do we<br />

find a place of steadiness from<br />

which to speak? And be heard by<br />

the particular audience we will<br />

have at each performance? For<br />

that feeling of vertigo is not our<br />

final destination, as it was<br />

not <strong>Harriet</strong>’s.<br />

Toni Morrison speaks of reluctance<br />

in reference to her novel<br />

Beloved: “I had this terrible<br />

reluctance about dwelling on<br />

[slavery]…I was overwhelmed by how long it was.<br />

Suddenly the time -- 300 years -- began to drown me. I<br />

[tried] to make [slavery] a personal experience. <strong>The</strong> book<br />

[Beloved] was not about the institution -- Slavery with a<br />

capital S. It was about these anonymous people called<br />

slaves. What they do to keep on, how they make a life,<br />

what they're willing to risk, however long it lasts, in order<br />

to relate to one another -- that was incredible to<br />

me.” Morrison, with her unquestionable genius and<br />

clarity, goes right into the heart of real people and gives<br />

them voices.<br />

And we have real people here, and we must listen for<br />

their voices. <strong>Harriet</strong> says she found her voice in that<br />

attic. Years later, she composed Incidents in the Life of a<br />

Slave Girl, pursued its publication through a newspaper<br />

and three separate publishers, and then traveled widely<br />

promoting the book and its abolitionist cause.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

And so, <strong>Harriet</strong>’s is both the story of endurance, and the<br />

endurance of story. From the attic emerged her voice,<br />

and from her voice emerged her true experience, and it is<br />

still challenging and clear. She told her readers, in North<br />

America and in England, “If you want to be fully<br />

convinced of the abominations of slavery, go on a<br />

southern plantation, and call yourself a Negro trader.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n there will be no concealment; and you will see and<br />

hear things that will seem to you impossible among<br />

human beings with immortal souls.”<br />

Our task, as I see it, is to tell the<br />

story with the clarity and energy of<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>. With her humor,<br />

with her intellect and consciousness,<br />

the helplessness of righteous anger<br />

and self-pity is unnecessary. She says<br />

to us, “I need you out there to<br />

understand exactly what this was<br />

like, so that you can see it clearly.<br />

And think about it.”<br />

I believe that clear sight can save us<br />

from the fog of vertigo.<br />

People endure, stories endure, and<br />

therefore they have hope of transformation. This<br />

transformation moves me as I come to this room and this<br />

task. We use our voices to survive the vision of the attic,<br />

and together to cross to firmer ground from which to<br />

speak the truth. To speak, like <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> did, to<br />

those who don’t know the story, and need to hear it. To<br />

those who aren’t willing to remember the story, and<br />

need to hear it again. And those who think they know it,<br />

and need to hear it afresh.<br />

Thank you for joining Lydia and me in this process.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 13




Collette Pollard, Set Designer<br />

Collette Pollard returns to the Rep after having<br />

designed the set for the Rep’s 2009 production of<br />

<strong>The</strong> Glass Menagerie. Collette, who received her<br />

MFA in scenic design from Northwestern University,<br />

also designed the set for Steppenwolf <strong>The</strong>atre<br />

Company’s world premiere production of <strong>Harriet</strong><br />

<strong>Jacobs</strong> in 2008. She recently spoke to us about her<br />

inspiration for the set and how the design has<br />

evolved for the Rep’s production.<br />

Like the last set you designed for the Rep, <strong>The</strong> Glass<br />

Menagerie, <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> is a memory play. How<br />

did you evoke this feeling of memory in the<br />

set design?<br />

Memory is evoked in two specific ways in this<br />

production of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>. <strong>Harriet</strong>'s memory of<br />

hiding in the attic for seven years--only able to see<br />

the outside world through the cracks in the wood-- is<br />

reflected in the set design through the use of narrow<br />

openings in the upstage wall. <strong>The</strong>se give us a sense<br />

of seeing glimpses into her memory of cotton fields,<br />

field workers, and watching her children grow and<br />

play. <strong>The</strong> other way in which memory is addressed is<br />

by not having anything real or tangible in the interior<br />

scenes. For example, we don't see the interior of<br />

Grandmother's kitchen or the Master's<br />

house. Instead, we listen to <strong>Harriet</strong> describe her<br />

memory of the space, and the ensemble helps set<br />

the world of the play through movement and song.<br />

Where did you draw your inspiration from for<br />

the set?<br />

I was inspired not only by the original architecture of<br />

the actual attic in which <strong>Harriet</strong> hid, but also by what<br />

it physically means to have freedom. In researching<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>, I came across an installation by artist<br />

Ellen Driscoll called <strong>The</strong> Loophole of Retreat.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

This piece, although quite different from the scenic<br />

design, inspired the idea of representing the seven<br />

years of <strong>Harriet</strong>’s hiding with seven window-like<br />

openings in the upstage wall. <strong>The</strong> idea to use all wood<br />

boards came from our research on the homes, schools<br />

and places of work of those who were enslaved. <strong>The</strong><br />

color was inspired by the yellowing of a page in a book<br />

and a piece by Ronald Lockett, named Pregnant Lady,<br />

that the costume designer, Jeremy Floyd, brought in<br />

during our research process.<br />

How has the design evolved since your design for the<br />

Steppenwolf production?<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> scenic design is quite<br />

different from the design at Steppenwolf <strong>The</strong>atre.<br />

At Steppenwolf, we dealt with memory by having the<br />

entire space open with all the props and furniture<br />

stored along the theatre walls. We evoked the trapped<br />

feeling in the design, not only her literal hiding, but also<br />

the traps that all the characters find themselves in. We<br />

realized the architecture of Grandmother's house and<br />

the big house with a cage-like structure indicating the<br />

bones of the house. All the props were real to help<br />

transform the space by the ensemble. We were also<br />

interested in the cage-like qualities of the boning used<br />

in period clothing to distinguish the white people in the<br />

play. Three windows hung in the space giving us<br />

moments of memory and, unlike seeing this<br />

production's expansive landscapes through narrow<br />

slots, we only saw the sky contained in the three<br />

windows.<br />

At KC Rep, the architecture of Copaken Stage, as well<br />

as director Jessica <strong>The</strong>bus' point of view on memory<br />

and interest in seeing the writing on the walls, frees us<br />

from creating a real structure for Grandmother's house<br />

and the big house. We are more interested in<br />

illustrating the coffin-like attic where <strong>Harriet</strong> felt more<br />

free in hiding than when she was enslaved. <strong>The</strong> script<br />

also went through changes allowing us to show the<br />

outcome of her surviving and culminating with her<br />

publishing her story.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 14




LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

Notice the triangular opening that represents the crawl space where <strong>Harriet</strong> goes<br />

into hiding. <strong>The</strong> type above the model indicates text which will be projected. Note<br />

the use of color.<br />

Images of the set model courtesy of Collette Pollard.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 15




LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

Images of the set model courtesy of Collette Pollard. Check out more of Collette’s work at www.collettepollard.com.<br />

For more information on the work that inspired Collette Pollard’s set design for <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>, please visit the following<br />

sites:<br />

Ellen Driscoll, Artist<br />

www.ellendriscoll.net<br />

Click here for an audio and video podcast about her installation, <strong>The</strong> Loophole of Retreat: https://www.nyhistory.org/<br />

web/default.php?section=whats_new&page=tour.tab3<br />

Ronald Lockett, Artist<br />

http://collections.thebrogan.org/code/emuseum.asp?<br />

emu_action=searchrequest&moduleid=2&profile=people&currentrecord=1&searchdesc=Ronald%<br />

20Lockett&style=single&rawsearch=constituentid/,/is/,/23/,/false/,/true<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 16




Jeremy W. Floyd, Costume Designer<br />

Jeremy W. Floyd is making his KC Rep debut as<br />

costume designer for <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>. Jeremy, who<br />

received his MFA from Northwestern University,<br />

recently spoke to us about the design process for this<br />

production.<br />

Where did you draw your inspiration from for your<br />

costume design for <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>?<br />

Though many artists and works were used as visual<br />

inspiration, two artists, John Biggers and Paul Jones,<br />

provided the major starting point for the design. <strong>The</strong>ir<br />

work, though very different visually, speaks on a level<br />

of visual simplicity with elegant line and uniform<br />

color, while expressing the sorrow and beauty of a life<br />

confined by others, whether that be through slavery<br />

or society. <strong>The</strong>se artists were supplemented with<br />

various other works of art from the 19th and 20th<br />

century as well as photography and portraiture of the<br />

time.<br />

What influenced your color palette? How did you use<br />

color, pattern, texture and layers to differentiate<br />

between characters of different races?<br />

<strong>The</strong> color palette of the world of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> was<br />

inspired by the natural colors of the environment,<br />

both in a geographical and stage sense. Colors were<br />

heightened on the ensemble base-clothing to allow<br />

the characters to stand out of the world as well as to<br />

feel like they are part of it. <strong>The</strong> desire was to create a<br />

simple silhouette that was a conglomeration of the<br />

slave clothing from the mid-19th century without<br />

denoting any specific time, giving the cast members<br />

the ability to assume various roles throughout the<br />

many years the story takes place. This simple<br />

silhouette was created using almost entirely linen for<br />

its dense drape, creating the illusion of weight while<br />

still possessing a light, springy quality for the stylized<br />

movement and choreography.<br />

Costume sketches courtesy of Jeremy W. Floyd.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 17



Visual texture was created on the relatively smooth linen<br />

with floral prints. <strong>The</strong>se floral designs evoke the feeling of<br />

handwritten words on a page. <strong>The</strong>y serve as <strong>Harriet</strong>'s<br />

memories locked in the fabric of the clothes and recreate<br />

her memories so the audience can understand her life as<br />

well as the lives of others.<br />

While the foundation of every actor is of the world, the<br />

roles of the "White People" are visually created by the<br />

addition of white over-layers. <strong>The</strong>se white "shells" are<br />

void of the texture and freedom of movement found in the<br />

base clothes, therefore visually binding the "White People"<br />

in a world where they should be the "free."<br />

Could you tell us a bit about the design process for this<br />

production?<br />

<strong>The</strong> best word to describe the process for <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> is<br />

"collaborative." <strong>The</strong> design team met many times to<br />

discuss the play on, not only a visual level, but a<br />

dramaturgical level as well, to develop a unified world<br />

that best told the story. <strong>The</strong> world of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> was<br />

created through the exchange of images, information, and<br />

ideas.<br />

For more information on the work that inspired Jeremy Floyd’s<br />

costume design for <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>, please visit the following<br />

sites:<br />

John Biggers<br />

http://atlantis.coe.uh.edu/biggers/bio1.htm<br />

Paul Jones<br />

http://www.udel.edu/museums/jones/jones-pages05/<br />

about1.html<br />

Costume sketches courtesy of Jeremy W. Floyd.<br />

To see more of Jeremy’s work, please go to:<br />

www.jeremywfloyd.com.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 18





LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

J.R. Lederle is making his KC Rep debut as lighting designer for <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>. His recent credits include Late<br />

(Piven <strong>The</strong>atre Workshop); Our Town (Lookingglass <strong>The</strong>atre Company); Eurydice (Victory Gardens <strong>The</strong>ater); Pulp<br />

(About Face <strong>The</strong>atre); A Life, Grey Gardens, Better Late, Retreat From Moscow, Lady (Northlight <strong>The</strong>atre); Night<br />

And Day, <strong>The</strong> Island, Old Times, Fiction, Aren't We All, An Immigrant Class (Remy Bumppo <strong>The</strong>atre Company);<br />

Bus Stop, <strong>The</strong> Turn of the Screw (which won a Joseph Jefferson Award for Lighting Design), <strong>The</strong> Lion In Winter<br />

(Writer's <strong>The</strong>atre); Morning's At Seven (Drury Lane <strong>The</strong>atre); Goldbrick, Scribblings from Abroad, Missing<br />

Meemaw and others (in collaboration with Stephan Mazurek); Sonia Flew, <strong>The</strong> Unmentionables, Love-Lies-<br />

Bleeding (also at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.), When <strong>The</strong> Messenger is<br />

Hot (also at 59 E. 59 <strong>The</strong>atres in New York), Jesus Hopped the "A" Train, Orson's Shadow, <strong>The</strong>atrical Essays,<br />

Tavern Story, Pacific, Fall to Earth, Wendell Greene, <strong>The</strong> House of Lily, We All Went Down to Amsterdam, First<br />

Look <strong>Repertory</strong> 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009 (Steppenwolf <strong>The</strong>atre Company); To Kill a Mockingbird, <strong>The</strong> House<br />

on Mango Street, <strong>The</strong> Bluest Eye (also at New Victory <strong>The</strong>ater in New York), <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>, <strong>The</strong> Water Engine<br />

(also at <strong>The</strong>ater on the Lake in Chicago), A Tale of Two Cities, Winesburg, Ohio, Division Street and Whispering<br />

<strong>City</strong> (Steppenwolf for Young Adults). His international credits include A Life, Grey Gardens, and Better Late at<br />

the Galway Arts Festival in Ireland. Additional lighting design credits include Steppenwolf Traffic Series for seven<br />

years and five Steppenwolf performances in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Mr. Lederle has served as head of the<br />

Lighting Department at Steppenwolf <strong>The</strong>atre Company since 1995.<br />


Andre Pluess serves as Composer/Sound Designer for <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>. Recent KC Rep credits include <strong>The</strong><br />

Arabian Nights and Metamorphoses, both with Ben Sussman. <strong>The</strong>ir Broadway credits include I Am My Own<br />

Wife and Metamorphoses. <strong>The</strong>ir regional credits include after the quake, Blue Door, Honour, Metamorphoses,<br />

<strong>The</strong> Secret in the Wings (Berkeley Rep) and they have also designed at numerous other regional theatres.<br />

Recent projects include 33 Variations, <strong>The</strong> Passion Play Trilogy (Arena Stage); BFE (Long Wharf and Playwrights<br />

Horizons); <strong>The</strong> Clean House (Yale Rep); Lady Windermere’s Fan (Williamstown <strong>The</strong>atre Festival). <strong>The</strong>ir artistic<br />

affiliations include associate artists (About Face <strong>The</strong>atre); resident artists (Court <strong>The</strong>atre); artistic associates<br />

(Lookingglass <strong>The</strong>atre); resident designers (Victory Gardens). Mr. Pluess and Mr. Sussman have won 11<br />

Jefferson Awards and Citations, an L.A. Ovation Award, a Drama Critics Circle Award and a Lucille Lortel<br />

nomination for composition and sound design.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 19



Nambi Kelley, who plays the title role of<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>, is an award-winning actress<br />

and playwright. In addition, she has worked<br />

nationally and internationally as a recording<br />

artist including books on tape, animation, and<br />

musical CDs. Nambi received her BFA from<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre School at DePaul University in<br />

Chicago and is a MFA candidate at Goddard<br />

College in Vermont.<br />

In 2008, Nambi originated the role of <strong>Harriet</strong><br />

<strong>Jacobs</strong> in the world premiere production at<br />

Steppenwolf <strong>The</strong>atre Company. She recently<br />

spoke to us about the challenges of the role<br />

and what she hopes young people will take<br />

from the production.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

You originated the role of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> at<br />

Steppenwolf <strong>The</strong>atre Company. Have there<br />

been any differences as to how you<br />

approached the role this time?<br />

This time around I didn't have to do as much<br />

dramaturgical research because the research<br />

was already part of me. In this process, I was<br />

able to approach the role more like an actor<br />

who is just picking up a regular script as<br />

opposed to a historical character.<br />

Are there any particular challenges in playing<br />

the role of <strong>Harriet</strong>?<br />

<strong>The</strong> biggest challenge for me is playing <strong>Harriet</strong><br />

in different times of her life and only having<br />

moments to switch between those ages. One<br />

moment I can be <strong>Harriet</strong> at the end of her life<br />

and the next moment I can be her as a young<br />

teenager. That is the most challenging.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 20



Have you found that you share any similarities<br />

with your character?<br />

I believe <strong>Harriet</strong> is the me I want to be as I get<br />

older. She is resilient, strong, and is dedicated<br />

to making sure her story makes it to the future.<br />

If anything, I aspire to cultivate the parts of me<br />

that are like her but can be enhanced.<br />

What have you learned from <strong>Harriet</strong>? What<br />

can she teach us?<br />

I learned so much from <strong>Harriet</strong> the first time I<br />

portrayed her and I learn even more from her<br />

everyday as I become reacquainted with her. As<br />

I mentioned, her resilience and tenacity are<br />

what I draw from her. What we should draw<br />

from her as an audience are those things, and<br />

also her commitment to telling the truth and<br />

recording history.<br />

What would you like young people to take<br />

away from this production?<br />

Young people should take away the history. It’s<br />

a very important and relevant part of history<br />

that still affects the world we live in. Young<br />

people need to understand how these things<br />

helped create the fabric of our country.<br />

Besides being an actress you are also a<br />

playwright. Could you share some advice for<br />

young people who want to work in theatre?<br />

Be fearless. Trust yourself and trust that the<br />

right path for you will unfold as it should.<br />

Nambi Kelley during a rehearsal for the Rep’s<br />

production of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>.<br />

For more about Nambi Kelley, please visit:<br />

www.nambikelley.com.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 21



Thaylia Smith, who celebrated her 29th<br />

anniversary with the Rep in January 2010,<br />

serves as the organization’s Design/<br />

Publications Specialist. Thaylia recently took<br />

time out of her busy schedule to speak to us<br />

about her position, her favorite Rep shows<br />

through the years, and her life outside<br />

of work.<br />

What does your position entail?<br />

I am responsible for designing and/or laying<br />

out a wide variety of print materials for the<br />

Rep. This could mean anything from creating<br />

advertisements for insertion into magazines<br />

and newspapers, to designing art for t-shirts<br />

and sweatshirts, to making banners to be<br />

hung on the outside of our performance<br />

spaces, to helping put together programs for<br />

each production the Rep produces.<br />

How did you make your way to the Rep?<br />

I began working part-time as a secretary/<br />

receptionist at the University of Missouri-<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> when I was a junior in high school<br />

as part of my high school’s Cooperative<br />

Education (COE) program. I worked at the<br />

Urban Youth Program, the Student Learning<br />

Center, the Personnel Office, and the UMKC<br />

School of Medicine before I was hired as the<br />

Executive Staff Assistant to the late James D.<br />

Costin, the Rep’s co-founder, in 1981. I have<br />

the distinct honor of having been at the Rep<br />

during the tenure of each of its four artistic<br />

directors: Dr. Patricia McIlrath, George<br />

Keathley, Peter Altman, and our current<br />

fearless, adventurous leader, Eric Rosen.<br />

What has been your favorite Rep production<br />

and which production are you most looking<br />

forward to this season?<br />

I am honored to have attended many<br />

wonderful productions at the Rep over the<br />

years, so it would be impossible for me to<br />

choose just one. So, I will tell you one play<br />

from each artistic director’s reign that I<br />

enjoyed seeing.<br />

Thaylia Smith<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

During Dr. McIlrath’s directorship, I think I<br />

most enjoyed the Rep’s 1983 production of<br />

<strong>The</strong> Life and Times of Nicholas Nickelby. It was<br />

a magnificent telling of Charles Dickens’<br />

classic Victorian novel, and in order to tell the<br />

whole story, Nickelby was presented over two<br />

consecutive days!<br />

<strong>The</strong>re were many great shows during Mr.<br />

Keathley’s era, too, but I think two of my<br />

most memorable ones were the 1992<br />

production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar &<br />

Grill, which chronicled the life of singer Billie<br />

Holiday, and <strong>The</strong> Gospel at Colonus, which the<br />

Rep co-produced with the St. Louis Black<br />

<strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre in 1998. Colonus was a<br />

recounting of the famous Greek play as a<br />

gospel-themed musical and featured some of<br />

the most beautiful and powerful voices that<br />

have ever graced the Rep’s mainstage.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 22



I think my favorite show when Peter Altman was artistic<br />

director was the Rep’s rockin’ 2007 production of Love,<br />

Janis. A really great show about the life of Janis Joplin, it<br />

was the inaugural production at the Rep’s new downtown<br />

performance space, Copaken Stage. Love, Janis featured a<br />

fabulous back-up band made up of local musicians, and<br />

the two ladies who sang Janis’s songs were both<br />

outstanding, to boot.<br />

And finally, choosing a<br />

favorite Eric Rosen<br />

production is a somewhat<br />

daunting task, as every<br />

production that we’ve<br />

put on since he became<br />

our artistic director has<br />

featured something<br />

outstanding and<br />

memorable in it. While I<br />

count Clay and Venice in<br />

my top five Rosen<br />

favorites, the 2009<br />

staging of his play,<br />

Winesburg, Ohio, is the<br />

one that has most deeply<br />

touched my heart to<br />

date. <strong>The</strong> music was<br />

hauntingly beautiful, and<br />

I understood the feelings<br />

of, and sympathized with, many of the characters. I went<br />

to see it five times and would go five more if it was still on<br />

our stage!<br />

As to what show I’m looking forward to in the current<br />

season, I would have to say the current production of<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>, as her story is part of my history as a black<br />

woman. I am also excited about Cabaret.<br />

What got you interested in working in the theatre?<br />

I was drawn to the Rep as a possible place of employment<br />

because I had been to see a couple of their productions<br />

and was impressed with what I saw. I also had never<br />

worked for a professional theatre before, and thought that<br />

being employed there could provide a lot of diverse<br />

experiences. I certainly wasn’t wrong about that!<br />

What advice do you have for young people interested in a<br />

career as a graphic designer?<br />

I would tell potential designers that, in my opinion, you are<br />

about to enter one of the most exciting and interesting<br />

professions there is to be had! If you like a lot of variety in<br />

your job, love working with technology, and want to be<br />

paid for unleashing your creative urges, this is the career<br />

for you. I would also tell them that a thorough knowledge<br />

of the major software packages used in this industry is<br />

imperative to your<br />

success. <strong>The</strong>refore,<br />

taking classes at<br />

institutions with<br />

reputable design<br />

programs is definitely<br />

a must.<br />

What keeps you busy<br />

outside of work?<br />

I love listening to live<br />

music at local venues,<br />

dancing, visiting art<br />

galleries and museums,<br />

and being outdoors. My<br />

major hobby for over<br />

25 years has been<br />

raising (not breeding)<br />

and showing purebred<br />

dogs at American<br />

Kennel Club and International All-Breed Canine Association<br />

shows all over the country. I share my life with an Alaskan<br />

Malamute, AKC & International Champion Totempoles N<br />

Sharaden’s Sam-I-Am (Sam, for short), who has six Best In<br />

Show wins to date, and a Samoyed, International<br />

Champion Silversage Cosmic Quiver (Austin, for short),<br />

who has placed in Working Group competitions.<br />

Thaylia and her Samoyed, International Champion Silversage Cosmic Quiver (Austin, for short),<br />

at a recent competition.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 23




LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

<strong>The</strong> Rep’s production of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> is based on <strong>Jacobs</strong>’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.<br />

You may want to read it as a class. (<strong>The</strong> text of the book can be found digitally here: http://<br />

docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/jacobs/jacobs.html.) Use the following prompts as conversation<br />

starters with your students prior to attending the performance.<br />

1. What is the role of the audience in a theatrical production?<br />

2. What might be the challenges in bringing <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>’ story to the stage?<br />

3. What are your expectations of seeing <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> at the Rep? Make predictions about the set, costumes, sound<br />

and lighting.<br />

4. Playwright Lydia Diamond chose to incorporate spirituals into the play. Why do you think she made this choice?<br />

What do you think music will bring to the story?<br />

5. Won’t you ring, Old Hammer? and Oh, Mary Don’t You Weep are two of the spirituals included in <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>.<br />

Research them on the web and listen to the various versions of the songs. What images and emotions do they<br />

evoke?<br />

6. In her Director’s Notes, Jessica <strong>The</strong>bus writes, “I brought flowers to our room this morning as my own<br />

acknowledgement to the ancestors. I’ll keep flowers in the room every day we work—anyone is free to add to<br />

them in any way, and we will tell this story to honor those that lived it.” What are some other ways we can honor<br />

our ancestors?<br />

7. What are the advantages and disadvantages of telling stories through theatre rather than through books, film or<br />

other media?<br />

8. What other stories about slavery are you familiar with? How do you think these stories will compare with <strong>Harriet</strong><br />

<strong>Jacobs</strong>?<br />

9. Compare Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. How are they similar? How are they different?<br />

<strong>The</strong> full text of Uncle Tom’s Cabin can be found here: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/STOWE/stowe.html.<br />

10. How were enslaved people able to maintain aspects of their culture within the confines of slavery?<br />

11. What is the role of records, memoirs, and artifacts in preserving history? What is the role of theater?<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 24



LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

<strong>The</strong> Rep’s production of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> is based on <strong>Jacobs</strong>’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.<br />

Below is an excerpt. (<strong>The</strong> full text of the book can be found digitally here:<br />

http://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/jacobs/jacobs.html.)<br />

Literary Value<br />

Read the selection aloud and discuss. Ask students to find imagery, alliteration, metaphor and other literary techniques.<br />

Discuss how <strong>Harriet</strong>’s storytelling affects the reader.<br />

Vocabulary<br />

Identify unknown words and define them. Discuss how the “new” words clarify <strong>Harriet</strong>’s narrative.<br />

Personal Response<br />

Isolate images and draw, paint or sculpt a visual art piece reflecting images or thoughts in <strong>Harriet</strong>’s narrative or students’<br />

responses to the words.<br />

How does this section of source material influence your ideas about what the performance may look or sound like?<br />

If you have seen the play, how were <strong>Harriet</strong>’s thoughts and observations reflected in the performance?<br />


When spring returned, and I took in the little patch of green the aperture commanded, I<br />

asked myself how many more summers and winters I must be condemned to spend thus.<br />

I longed to draw in a plentiful draught of fresh air, to stretch my cramped limbs, to have<br />

room to stand erect, to feel the earth under my feet again. My relatives were constantly<br />

on the lookout for a chance of escape; but none offered that seemed practicable, and<br />

even tolerably safe. <strong>The</strong> hot summer came again, and made the turpentine drop from the<br />

thin roof over my head.<br />

During the long nights, I was restless for want of air, and I had no room to toss and turn.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re was but one compensation; the atmosphere was so stifled that even mosquitos<br />

would not condescend to buzz in it. With all my detestation of Dr. Flint, I could hardly<br />

wish him a worse punishment, either in this world or that which is to come, than to<br />

suffer what I suffered in one single summer. Yet the laws allowed him to be out in the<br />

free air, while I, guiltless of crime, was pent up in here, as the only means of avoiding the<br />

cruelties the laws allowed him to inflict upon me! I don't know what kept life within me.<br />

Again and again, I thought I should die before long; but I saw the leaves of another<br />

autumn whirl through the air, and felt the touch of another winter. In summer the most<br />

terrible thunder storms were acceptable, for the rain came through the roof, and I rolled<br />

up my bed that it might cool the hot boards under it. Later in the season, storms sometimes<br />

wet my clothes through and through, and that was not comfortable when the air<br />

grew chilly. Moderate storms I could keep out by filling the chinks with oakum.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 25


But uncomfortable as my situation was, I had glimpses of things out of doors, which made<br />

me thankful for my wretched hiding-place. One day I saw a slave pass our gate, muttering,<br />

"It's his own, and he can kill it if he will." My grandmother told me that woman's history. Her<br />

mistress had that day seen her baby for the first time, and in the lineaments of its fair face<br />

she saw a likeness to her husband. She turned the bondwoman and her child out of doors,<br />

and forbade her ever to return. <strong>The</strong> slave went to her master, and told him what had<br />

happened. He promised to talk with her mistress, and make it all right. <strong>The</strong> next day she and<br />

her baby were sold to a Georgia trader.<br />

Another time I saw a woman rush wildly by, pursued by two men. She was a slave, the wet<br />

nurse of her mistress's children. For some trifling offence her mistress ordered her to be<br />

stripped and whipped. To escape the degradation and the torture, she rushed to the river,<br />

jumped in, and ended her wrongs in death.<br />

Senator Brown, of Mississippi, could not be ignorant of many such facts as these, for they are<br />

of frequent occurrence in every Southern State. Yet he stood up in the Congress of the<br />

United States, and declared that slavery was "a great moral, social, and political blessing; a<br />

blessing to the master, and a blessing to the slave!"<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

I suffered much more during the second winter than I did during the first. My limbs were<br />

benumbed by inaction, and the cold filled them with cramp. I had a very painful sensation of<br />

coldness in my head; even my face and tongue stiffened, and I lost the power of speech. Of<br />

course it was impossible, under the circumstances, to summon any physician. My brother<br />

William came and did all he could for me. Uncle Phillip also watched tenderly over me; and<br />

poor grandmother crept up and down to inquire whether there were any signs of returning<br />

life. I was restored to consciousness by the dashing of cold water in my face, and found<br />

myself leaning against my brother's arm, while he bent over me with streaming eyes. He<br />

afterwards told me he thought I was dying, for I had been in an unconscious state sixteen<br />

hours. I next became delirious, and was in great danger of betraying myself and my friends.<br />

To prevent this, they stupefied me with drugs. I remained in bed six weeks, weary in body<br />

and sick at heart. How to get medical advice was the question. William finally went to a<br />

Thompsonian doctor, and described himself as having all my pains and aches. He returned<br />

with herbs, roots, and ointment. He was especially charged to rub on the ointment by a fire;<br />

but how could a fire be made in my little den? Charcoal in a furnace was tried, but there was<br />

no outlet for the gas, and it nearly cost me my life. Afterwards coals, already kindled, were<br />

brought up in an iron pan, and placed on bricks. I was so weak, and it was so long since I had<br />

enjoyed the warmth of a fire, that those few coals actually made me weep. I think the<br />

medicines did me some good; but my recovery was very slow. Dark thoughts passed through<br />

my mind as I lay there day after day. I tried to be thankful for my little cell, dismal as it was,<br />

and even to love it, as part of the price I had paid for the redemption of my children.<br />

Sometimes I thought God was a compassionate Father, who would forgive my sins for the<br />

sake of my sufferings. At other times, it seemed to me there was no justice or mercy in the<br />

divine government. I asked why the curse of slavery was permitted to exist, and why I had<br />

been so persecuted and wronged from youth upward. <strong>The</strong>se things took the shape of<br />

mystery, which is to this day not so clear to my soul as I trust it will be<br />

hereafter.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 26



LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

In the midst of my illness, grandmother broke down under the weight of anxiety and toil. <strong>The</strong><br />

idea of losing her, who had always been my best friend and a mother to my children, was the<br />

sorest trial I had yet had. O, how earnestly I prayed that she might recover! How hard it<br />

seemed, that I could not tend upon her, who had so long and so tenderly watched over me!<br />

One day the screams of a child nerved me with strength to crawl to my peeping-hole, and I<br />

saw my son covered with blood. A fierce dog, usually kept chained, had seized and bitten<br />

him. A doctor was sent for, and I heard the groans and screams of my child while the wounds<br />

were being sewed up. O, what torture to a mother's heart, to listen to this and be unable to<br />

go to him!<br />

But childhood is like a day in spring, alternately shower and sunshine. Before night Benny<br />

was bright and lively, threatening the destruction of the dog; and great was his delight when<br />

the doctor told him the next day that the dog had bitten another boy and been shot. Benny<br />

recovered from his wounds; but it was long before he could walk.<br />

When my grandmother's illness became known, many ladies, who were her customers,<br />

called to bring her some little comforts, and to inquire whether she had every thing she<br />

wanted. Aunt Nancy one night asked permission to watch with her sick mother, and Mrs.<br />

Flint replied, "I don't see any need of your going. I can't spare you." But when she found<br />

other ladies in the neighborhood were so attentive, not wishing to be outdone in Christian<br />

charity, she also sallied forth, in magnificent condescension, and stood by the bedside of her<br />

who had loved her in her infancy, and who had been repaid by such grievous wrongs. She<br />

seemed surprised to find her so ill, and scolded uncle Phillip for not sending for Dr. Flint. She<br />

herself sent for him immediately, and he came. Secure as I was in my retreat, I should have<br />

been terrified if I had known he was so near me. He pronounced my grandmother in a very<br />

critical situation, and said if her attending physician wished it, he would visit her. Nobody<br />

wished to have him coming to the house at all hours, and we were not disposed to give him a<br />

chance to make out a long bill.<br />

As Mrs. Flint went out, Sally told her the reason Benny was lame was, that a dog had bitten<br />

him. "I'm glad of it," she replied. "I wish he had killed him. It would be good news to send to<br />

his mother. Her day will come. <strong>The</strong> dogs will grab her yet." With these Christian words she<br />

and her husband departed, and, to my great satisfaction, returned no more.<br />

I heard from uncle Phillip, with feelings of unspeakable joy and gratitude, that the crisis was<br />

passed and grandmother would live. I could now say from my heart, "God is merciful. He has<br />

spared me the anguish of feeling that I caused her death."<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 27



LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />


This narrative contains some incidents so extraordinary, that, doubtless, many persons, under<br />

whose eyes it may chance to fall, will be ready to believe that it is colored highly, to serve a<br />

special purpose. But, however it may be regarded by the incredulous, I know that it is full of<br />

living truths. I have been well acquainted with the author from my boyhood. <strong>The</strong><br />

circumstances recounted in her history are perfectly familiar to me. I knew of her treatment<br />

from her master; of the imprisonment of her children; of their sale and redemption; of her<br />

seven years' concealment; and of her subsequent escape to the North. I am now a resident of<br />

Boston, and am a living witness to the truth of this interesting narrative.<br />

-GEORGE W. LOWTHER, 1861<br />

This testimony by George Lowther (1822-1898), a prominent African-American citizen of<br />

Boston, was included in the 1861 publication of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. One of<br />

<strong>Jacobs</strong>' Northern anti-slavery activist friends, Lowther had grown up in Edenton, North<br />

Carolina. He was emancipated as a young man and moved to Massachusetts, where he was<br />

elected to the State House of Representatives in 1878.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 28




LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

EVALUATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: Research and discuss the topics listed below using a graphic<br />

organizer. Put the key concept in the middle of the circle and list students’ ideas in the area<br />

coming out from the main circle. You will need to use a separate organizer for each topic. Use<br />

available resources to research additional information. You may also want to refer to the<br />

timeline of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>’ life (p. 9-10) and determine the key US and world events that<br />

occurred during <strong>Harriet</strong>’s lifetime.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 29




LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

TOPICS FOR THOUGHT: Use the following prompts as conversation starters with your students<br />

after attending <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> at the Rep. Following the discussion, you may want to have your<br />

students write a review of the production. We’d love to hear from them! Reviews can be<br />

emailed to Melinda McCrary, Director of Education, at mccrarym@kcrep.org.<br />

THE PLAY<br />

1. What are the major themes of the play?<br />

2. Why do you think playwright Lydia Diamond had <strong>Harriet</strong> talk directly to the audience?<br />

3. Why do you think the playwright chose to have an all-black cast? How did that affect your viewing of the<br />

performance?<br />

4. What did the inclusion of spirituals bring to the performance?<br />

5. <strong>The</strong> script does not shy away from some of the more disturbing aspects of slavery. Do you think this production<br />

is suitable for all ages? Why or why not?<br />

6. Why is <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>’ story important?<br />


1. Review the predictions you made about the set, costumes, lighting and sound. Were the design elements what<br />

you expected? Why or why not?<br />

2. How was memory evoked in the production?<br />

3. Tyrone Aiken, Executive Director of <strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> Friends of Alvin Ailey, choreographed the movement sections of<br />

the piece. How did this contribute to the production?<br />

4. How were costumes utilized to differentiate between characters of different races?<br />


1. In the play <strong>Harriet</strong> says, “I believe there are two kinds of mean mistresses….<strong>The</strong>re are those mistresses who now<br />

that this thing…..this way we live, slavery, is evil and wrong and so lash out because they must convince<br />

themselves that we are animals that they might sleep at night, and hold their heads up in church on Sunday<br />

morning….And then there are those mistresses who would treat their own meanly, and so certainly would have<br />

no regard for us. An’ all of them, steady gettin’ treated mean by they own men.”<br />

Discuss what she means. Do you agree or disagree with her description?<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 30



THE CHARACTERS - continued<br />

2. Why did <strong>Harriet</strong> not tell her Grandma that she had taken up with Sawyer?<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

3. Why does <strong>Harriet</strong> choose to have a relationship with Sawyer? Did she have a choice? What would you have<br />

done?<br />

4. Why do you think Dr. Norcom never forced himself upon <strong>Harriet</strong>?<br />

5. Why do you think Dr. Norcom continued to pursue <strong>Harriet</strong>?<br />

6. Samuel Treadwell Sawyer was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1837. Do you think he helped<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> enough? Why or why not? What might have prevented him from helping her? Do you think Sawyer<br />

truly loved <strong>Harriet</strong>?<br />

7. How is <strong>Harriet</strong>’s Grandmother a source of strength for her? Who is a source of strength for you in your life?<br />

Write about that person.<br />

8. How does <strong>Harriet</strong> show her love for her children?<br />

9. How does <strong>Harriet</strong> take control of her own destiny?<br />

10. When do you think <strong>Harriet</strong> became free?<br />

11. In what ways do you personally identify with <strong>Harriet</strong>?<br />


1. What impact did this production have on your beliefs about slavery? Did it contradict any of your previously<br />

held beliefs?<br />

2. What effect did the Nat Turner Rebellion have on African-American’s lives, both free and slave?<br />

3. During the time period of the play (1827-1832), slavery was law and those aiding slaves in escape or even failing<br />

to disclose a slave’s whereabouts could be jailed and put on trial. When does moral law take precedence over<br />

legislative law? Can you think of any contemporary situations where this might apply?<br />

4. <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> was a light skinned African-American. In fact, she and her children could pass for white. Explain<br />

how this might complicate her situation. What is the role of skin color and how does it influence our perceptions<br />

of race?<br />

5. What impact did slavery have on American culture and history?<br />

6. How did slavery negatively impact the lives, not just of slaves, but of slave owners, their wives and their<br />

children?<br />

7. What does <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> teach us about the female slave experience?<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 31




LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

LISTEN AND RESOND: As a class, listen to the following story from NPR, Professor Sheds Light<br />

on <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>' path to freedom, which can be accessed here: http://www.npr.org/<br />

templates/story/story.php?storyId=17897134. Have students respond to the questions below<br />

and share with the group.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> hid in a crawl space measuring nine feet long, seven feet wide and three feet high. Measure this out in your class<br />

room. Imagine what it must have been like to be confined in that space for seven years. What does this reveal about her<br />

character?<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

Why do you think <strong>Harriet</strong> made the choices she did? Do they make sense to you?<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

Are people defined by the choices they make? Why or why not?<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

Describe a situation where you felt powerless. How did you find your voice and regain your power?<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

What does freedom mean to you?<br />

__________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

What sacrifices would you make to be free?<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 32



St. Louis, MO<br />

1928-<br />

Poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian,<br />

filmmaker, and civil rights activist.<br />

St. Louis, MO<br />

1906-1975<br />

Entertainer and activist<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong>, MO<br />

1911-2003<br />

Journalist and activist<br />

Topeka, KS<br />

1917-2000<br />

Poet and activist<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong>, KS<br />

1895-1974<br />

Singer and music critic<br />

First African-American woman to earn a master's degree in music.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> eventually fled Edenton, NC and became an activist for the abolitionist cause.<br />

Below are some notable African-American women with ties to our region. Research more<br />

about them and prepare a summary of their lives and accomplishments. Make sure to add to<br />

this list with more notable women that you find. Write a monologue or scene from the point of<br />

view of one of these women. You are adapting history into theatre.<br />

Maya Angelou.<br />

Photo: www.mayaangelou.com.<br />

Lucile Bluford.<br />

Photo: State Historical Site of Missouri.<br />

Nora Holt.<br />

Photo: Carl Van Vecten.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 33



Coffeyville, KS<br />

1895-1992<br />

Singer, actress, choral director, author, and poet.<br />

First African-American woman to win international distinction as a director of a<br />

professional choral group.<br />

Topeka, KS<br />

1897-1950<br />

Lawyer<br />

First African-American woman admitted to the <strong>Kansas</strong> bar.<br />

St. Louis, MO<br />

1869-1957<br />

Entrepreneur and a pioneer in the African-American beauty and cosmetic business.<br />

Wichita, KS<br />

1895-1952<br />

Actor<br />

First African-American to both win an Oscar and attend the Oscar ceremonies.<br />

St. Louis, MO<br />

1815-1876<br />

Co-plaintiff in Dred Scott v. Sanford 1857.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

Lutie Lytle.<br />

Photo: <strong>Kansas</strong> State Historical Society.<br />

Annie Turbo Malone.<br />

Photo: www.blackpast.org.<br />

<strong>Harriet</strong> Robinson Scott.<br />

Photo: National Park Service.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 34




Hopkinson, Deborah. Under the Quilt of Night. Illus. by James E. Ransome. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers,<br />

2001.<br />

Levine, Ellen. Henry’s Freedom Box. Illus. by Kadir Nelson. New York: Scholastic Press, 2007.<br />

Miller, William. Frederick Douglass: <strong>The</strong> Last Day of Slavery. Illus. by Cedric Lucas. New York: Lee & Low, 1995.<br />

Rappaport, Doreen. Freedom River. Illus. by Bryan Collier. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 2000.<br />

Schroeder, Alan. Minty: A Story of <strong>Harriet</strong> Tubman. Illus. by Jerry Pinkney. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1996.<br />

Walter, Mildred Pitts. Alec’s Primer. Illus. by Larry Johnson. Middlebury, VT: Vermont Folklife Center, 2004.<br />

Wright, Courtni Crump. Journey to Freedom: A Story of the Underground Railroad. Illus. by Gershom Griffith. New York:<br />

Holiday House, 1994.<br />


Brenaman, Miriam. Evvy’s Civil War. New York: Putnam, 2002.<br />

Copper, Afua. My Name Is Phillis Wheatley: A Story of Slavery and Freedom. Kids Can Press, 2009.<br />

Curtis, Christopher Paul. Elijah of Buxton. New York: Scholastic, 2007.<br />

Draper, Sharon. Copper Sun. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2006.<br />

Hansen, Joyce. <strong>The</strong> Captive. New York: Scholastic, 1994.<br />

Lyons, M. E. Letters from a Slave Girl: <strong>The</strong> Story of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>. New York: Scribner, 1992.<br />

Myers, Walter Dean. Amistad: A Long Road to Freedom. Puffin, 2001.<br />

Patterson, Katherine. Jip: His Story. Puffin, 1998.<br />

Paulsen, Gary. Nightjohn. New York: Delacorte Press, 1993.<br />

Paulsen, Gary. Sarny: A Life Remembered. Delacourt Press, 1995.<br />

Rinaldi, Ann. <strong>The</strong> Ever-After Bird. Orlando: Harcourt, 2007.<br />


LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

RELATED READING: Have students create a picture book about <strong>Harriet</strong>’s life for younger<br />

children. A list of selected picture books that can serve as inspiration are listed below. Or,<br />

form literature circles and discuss one of the novels for adolescents about slavery and the<br />

African-American experience.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 35



LEARNING GUIDE | 2010<br />

BOOKS:<br />

<strong>Jacobs</strong>, <strong>Harriet</strong>. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Restored Version Complete and Unabridged. CreateSpace, 2009.<br />

Originally published in 1861 by <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>, using the pen name Linda Brent, Incidents is considered a work of feminist<br />

literature. On one level it chronicles the experiences of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> and the mistreatment she had to endure under the<br />

institution of slavery. It then goes further to examine the abuse and mistreatment of slave women as a national issue.<br />

Yellin, J. F. <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>: A Life. New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2004.<br />

A biography of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>, which includes historical and rare family photographs. It chronicles her life from slavery to<br />

activism.<br />

Yellin, J. F. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> Family Papers. University of North Carolina Press, 2008.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se letters and papers written by, for, and about <strong>Jacobs</strong> and her activist brother and daughter provide for the thousands<br />

of readers of Incidents access to the rich historical context of <strong>Jacobs</strong>'s struggles against slavery, racism, and sexism beyond<br />

what she reveals in her pseudonymous narrative.<br />


www.harrietjacobs.org<br />

This website sheds light on who <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> was, outlines the social and political climate of her lifetime, and introduces<br />

present-day sites that help to interpret her memorable story.<br />

www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/home.html<br />

PBS special: Africans in America. America’s journey through slavery is presented in four parts. For each era, there is a<br />

historical narrative, a resource bank of images, documents, stories, biographies, commentaries, and a teacher’s guide for<br />

using the content of the web site and television series in U.S. history courses. You can find <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> at www.pbs.org/<br />

wgbh/aia/part4/4p2923.html.<br />

www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/experience/gender/spotlight.html<br />

A website on the slave experience.<br />

www.pbs.org/race/001_WhatIsRace/001_00-home.htm<br />

Provides background knowledge about the origins of modern definitions of race and clarifies common misconceptions<br />

about race.<br />

http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schooladventures/slavery/index.html<br />

Discovery Education’s guide to understanding slavery. Includes teacher tips and resources.<br />

http://us.penguingroup.com/static/pdf/teachersguides/IncidentsSlaveGirlTG.pdf<br />

A teacher’s guide to the Signet Classics edition of <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.<br />

MEDIA:<br />

Professor Sheds Light on <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong>' path to freedom<br />

Dr. Yellin interviewed by Michel Martin on the NPR show "Tell Me More."<br />

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17897134<br />

Voices from the Days of Slavery<br />

Library of Congress American Memory Project (includes audio recordings as well as transcripts) http://memory.loc.gov/<br />

ammem/collections/voices/<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 36


<strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> meets the following state and national standards:<br />

KANSAS<br />

Reading<br />

1.3 <strong>The</strong> student expands vocabulary.<br />

1.4 <strong>The</strong> student comprehends a variety of texts (narrative, expository, technical, and persuasive).<br />

Literature<br />

2.1 <strong>The</strong> student uses literary concepts to interpret and respond to text.<br />

2.1 <strong>The</strong> student understands the significance of literature and its contributions to various cultures.<br />

Civics/Government<br />

1.1 <strong>The</strong> student understands the rule of law as it applies to individuals; family; school; local, state and national<br />

governments.<br />

1.2 <strong>The</strong> student understands the shared ideals and diversity of American society and political culture.<br />

Economics<br />

2.1 <strong>The</strong> student understands how limited resources require choices.<br />

2.3 <strong>The</strong> student analyzes how different incentives, economic systems and their institutions, and local, national, and<br />

International interdependence affect people.<br />

3.4 <strong>The</strong> student understands how economic, political, cultural, and social processes interact to shape patterns of<br />

human populations, interdependence, cooperation, and conflict.<br />

3.5 <strong>The</strong> student understands the effects of interactions between human and physical systems.<br />

US History<br />

5.1 <strong>The</strong> student uses a working knowledge and understanding of individuals, groups, ideas, developments, and turning<br />

points in the era of the emergence of the modern United States (1890-1930).<br />

5.5 <strong>The</strong> student engages in historical thinking skills.<br />

<strong>The</strong>atre/Drama<br />

1.1 <strong>The</strong> student knows the basic elements of a story.<br />

5.1 <strong>The</strong> student evaluates and reflects on the characteristics and merits of dramatic content and theatrical forms in<br />

their work and that of others.<br />

5.2 <strong>The</strong> student identifies and reflects upon personal meanings and emotional responses to performances and applies<br />

ideas to self and society.<br />

5.3 <strong>The</strong> student recognizes the contextual aspects of performances from various cultures, times, and places.<br />

5.4 <strong>The</strong> student demonstrates responsible audience etiquette.<br />

6.1 <strong>The</strong> student integrates theatre with other arts, disciplines, and the community.<br />

Listening, Viewing Speaking<br />

1 Learners will participate effectively as listeners in formal and informal groups.<br />

2 Learners will demonstrate skills in viewing for a variety of purposes.<br />

3 Learners speak effectively for a variety of audiences, purposes, occasions, and contexts.<br />

4 <strong>The</strong> communicator will retrieve information from a variety of appropriate sources.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 37


<strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> meets the following state and national standards:<br />


GOAL 1: Students in Missouri public schools will acquire the knowledge and skills to gather, analyze and apply information<br />

and ideas.<br />

5 comprehend and evaluate written, visual and oral presentations and works.<br />

9 identify, analyze and compare the institutions, traditions and art forms of past and present societies.<br />

GOAL 2: Students in Missouri public schools will acquire the knowledge and skills to communicate effectively within and<br />

beyond the classroom.<br />

3 exchange information, questions and ideas while recognizing the perspectives of others.<br />

4 present perceptions and ideas regarding works of the arts, humanities and sciences.<br />

Communication Arts: In Communication Arts, students in Missouri public schools will acquire a solid foundation which<br />

Includes knowledge of and proficiency in:<br />

2 reading and evaluating fiction, poetry and drama<br />

3 reading and evaluating nonfiction works and material (such as biographies, newspapers, technical manuals)<br />

5 comprehending and evaluating the content and artistic aspects of oral and visual presentations (such as<br />

story-telling, debates, lectures, multi-media productions).<br />

6 participating in formal and informal presentations and discussions of issues and ideas.<br />

7 identifying and evaluating relationships between language and culture.<br />

Fine Arts: In Fine Arts, students in Missouri public schools will acquire a solid foundation which includes knowledge of:<br />

1 process and techniques for the production, exhibition or performance of one or more of the visual or performed<br />

arts.<br />

2 the principles and elements of different art forms.<br />

3 the vocabulary to explain perceptions about and evaluations of works in dance, music, theater and visual arts.<br />

4 interrelationships of visual and performing arts and the relationships of the arts to other disciplines.<br />

5 visual and performing arts in historical and cultural contexts.<br />

Social Studies: In Social Studies, students in Missouri public schools will acquire a solid foundation which includes knowledge<br />

of:<br />

2 continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world<br />

3 principles and processes of governance systems<br />

4 economic concepts (including productivity and the market system) and principles (including the laws of supply and<br />

demand)<br />

5 the major elements of geographical study and analysis (such as location, place, movement, regions) and their<br />

relationships to changes in society and environment<br />

6 relationships of the individual and groups to institutions and cultural traditions.<br />


6 Comparing and integrating art forms by analyzing traditional theatre, dance, music, visual arts, and new art forms.<br />

7 Analyzing, critiquing, and constructing meanings from informal and formal theatre, film, television, and electronic<br />

media productions.<br />

8 Understanding context by analyzing the role of theatre, film, television, and electronic media in the past and the<br />

present.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 38



We want you to enjoy your time at the theatre, so here are some<br />

tips to make your experience at the Rep successful. Please take a<br />

moment to review these pages prior to attending the performance.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre’s Copaken Stage is located at 13 th and Walnut, inside the<br />

H&R Block Building, downtown. (<strong>The</strong> exact address is: One H&R Block Way, <strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong>,<br />

MO 64105.) It is best if your bus approaches the H&R Block Building heading west on<br />

13 th Street, which is a one way street. We will have police and <strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong><br />

<strong>The</strong>atre staff members at this entrance to help make the loading and unloading of buses go as smoothly as possible.<br />

Please arrive at the theatre between 9:30-9:45am. Performances begin promptly at 10:00am. We don’t want you to miss<br />

anything!<br />

When you arrive at the theatre, please stay on your buses! A staff member will greet your bus and let you know how to<br />

proceed.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is no bus parking at the H&R Block Building. We are aware of the following bus parking options:<br />

Buses may be able to find street parking around Barney Allis Plaza—No charge.<br />

Kemper Arena Lot B—No charge.<br />

14th & Wyandotte—Approximately $20 per bus, cash only.<br />

If you have an emergency after 9:00am on the day you are scheduled for performance, please call Amy Tonyes, Education<br />

Associate, on her personal cell phone at 816-204-1807. This is the best way to reach a staff person on performance days.<br />

Please also ensure that Amy has your cell phone number prior to your visit in case of emergency! Latecomers will be<br />

seated at the discretion of House Management staff.<br />

<strong>The</strong> performance will last approximately two hours, including intermission.<br />

<strong>The</strong> use of cameras and other recording devices is a violation of the actors’ contracts. We ask that you refrain from taking<br />

photos or videos during the production. However, you are welcome to take photos of students in the lobby or in the<br />

theatre before the performance begins. It is also important to remember that electronic and recording devices should not<br />

be brought inside the theatre. This includes pen lights, hand-held games, virtual pets, cell phones, mp3 players, pagers,<br />

ipods and bright or noisy jewelry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> use of cell phones (including text messaging), cameras or any other recording device is not allowed in the theater at<br />

any time! All cell phones should be completely turned off and put away during the performance. Cell phones left on<br />

“vibrate” give off a glow that can distract actors and audience members.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 39


Restrooms are located at the west end of the lobby. <strong>The</strong> best time to use the restroom is before the show or during<br />

intermission. Once the show starts, we request that audience members do not leave their seats. Water fountains are<br />

located near the restrooms.<br />

No. <strong>The</strong>re is no food, drinks or gum allowed in the theatre during the performance.<br />

Sack lunches can be stored by the House Management staff until after the performance. <strong>The</strong>y cannot be consumed in the<br />

lobby before or during the production.<br />

Snacks will be sold at intermission but can not be taken into the theatre. Please alert students to this policy so that they<br />

will not buy more than they can enjoy during intermission. Please let your students know to bring one dollar bills if they<br />

would like to purchase concessions. This will insure the line moves swiftly.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are several restaurants near the theatre downtown. If you are planning to eat at a downtown restaurant, it is<br />

advised that you contact them prior to your visit so that they can plan accordingly.<br />

We require a minimum of two weeks notice in order to accommodate your student’s needs. This includes<br />

accommodations for students who use wheelchairs as well as for students with hearing or vision impairments. Please note<br />

that tickets for para-professionals should be included in your ticket count. Everyone entering the theatre will need a ticket.<br />

<strong>The</strong>atre seating is assigned and based on sequence in which reservations and payments are received, talkback attendance,<br />

disability considerations, and group size.<br />

We ask that the teacher/chaperones sit among their students in various areas in order to encourage positive behavior.<br />

We ask that there be one adult seated between every ten students. You will be seated in the order you are standing in line<br />

to enter the theatre; please ensure your chaperones are spaced accordingly. Actors appreciate audience response that is<br />

appropriate to the play. By no means does the Rep want to discourage laughter or applause during a performance.<br />

However, talking, whispering, shouting or any inappropriate responses which are disruptive to the actors or to the rest of<br />

the audience is not tolerated. If behavior problems arise, we ask that a teacher or chaperone accompany the student to<br />

the theatre lobby and remain with the student until the end of the play.<br />

Please note that <strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre shall be under no liability for failure of the group to attend in the event<br />

that such failure is caused by, or due to, inclement weather, interruption or delay of transportation services, or any other<br />

similar or dissimilar cause beyond the control of the company. Due to the nature of live theater, performances may be<br />

cancelled without notice. Should this occur, the Education Department will make every effort to notify you and will<br />

attempt to move your group into another student matinee performance whenever possible. Once final payment has been<br />

received, per the Rep's ticket policy, we are unable to refund payment made for reservations.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 40


<strong>The</strong>re is a 20-minute Q. & A. discussion with the actors following the performance. If your group needs to leave after the<br />

play, we understand, and need to know beforehand. However, we encourage you to stay for this unique learning<br />

experience.<br />

Yes! Each person planning to see the play will need a ticket to give the ushers in order to enter the theatre. This includes<br />

all students, chaperones, para-professionals and drivers. If your bus driver will be attending the performance, please<br />

remember to give them their ticket prior to entering the theatre.<br />

Extra tickets will not be available on the day of performance. If you need to increase your seat count prior to the<br />

performance day, please contact Amy Tonyes, Education Associate, at 816-235-2707 or tonyesal@kcrep.org, and she can<br />

let you know if additional seats are available for purchase.<br />

If your group is arriving in cars, please note that parking is NOT available at the H&R Block garage. Parking is available at<br />

the Main Street parking garage located at 13th & Main. <strong>The</strong>re may be a fee for parking.<br />

Dress for the weather. You may wear dress clothes in order to make the theatre field trip a special one, but it is not<br />

required. Please be advised that, at times, it may be chilly in the theatre.<br />

After your visit, take time to discuss and reflect with your students and tell us about your experiences. We can share your<br />

feedback with the artists and funders who make these productions possible. Please send your letters to: Melinda McCrary,<br />

Director of Education, <strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre, 4825 Troost, #209, <strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong>, MO 64110 or mccrarym@kcrep.org.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 41


Rep on the Road<br />

Our team of teaching artists will visit your school each day for one week leading your<br />

students in the discovery of classic and contemporary plays through the process of<br />

rehearsal and performance. <strong>The</strong> team can teach all day for numerous classes in various<br />

disciplines or for an abbreviated day of fewer classes.<br />

For students approaching these texts for the first or repeated times, Rep on the Road<br />

introduces and immerses young scholars and performers in the process and skills used to<br />

make the words and the literary terms they study in class come to life. This workshop is an<br />

ideal way to enliven and enhance a Literature, Arts, Speech, English, History, or Drama<br />

class. We can customize the program content based on what you are exploring in any class<br />

or discipline or you can choose from the texts we have prepared. Daily schedules<br />

correspond to teachers’ schedules within each school—whether on block or regular<br />

schedule (including daily planning time).<br />

NOTE: Each residency is custom designed with educators to meet students’ needs on a<br />

school-specific basis and includes 1-2 advance planning sessions.<br />

Location: Your school<br />

Grades: 6-8, 9-12<br />

Availability: Fall and Winter semesters<br />

Fee: Fee varies with schedule. Call for more information!<br />

Opportunities: Mix and Match from these workshops or choose one.<br />

Shakespeare in the Wings: King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello,<br />

Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. American Masterworks: <strong>The</strong> Crucible, <strong>The</strong> Glass<br />

Menagerie, Death of a Salesman, To Kill A Mockingbird, Animal Farm, Raisin in the Sun,<br />

Our Town. Discoveries and Techniques: Acting Techniques, Improvisation, Audition Skills,<br />

Musical <strong>The</strong>atre, Technical <strong>The</strong>atre, and Arts Marketing.<br />

To book<br />


contact Melinda McCrary,<br />

Director of Education &<br />

Community Programs, at<br />

816-235-5708 or<br />

mccrarym@kcrep.org<br />

Schlagle H.S. students participate<br />

during a Rep on the Road arts<br />

education residency.<br />

Photo: Charles Stonewall.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 42


In Class Post-Show Discussion<br />

Let the learning continue after the curtain goes down. We are offering you the opportunity<br />

to have a member of the Education staff lead a post-show discussion in your classroom after<br />

attending a student matinee performance at the Rep. This guided discussion will enable<br />

students to delve deeper into the context and themes of the play, giving them a chance for<br />

their thoughts and opinions to be heard. Engaging and collaborative, this discussion<br />

encourages students to utilize higher levels of thinking to connect the central issues in the<br />

play to their own lives.<br />

Location: Your school<br />

Availability: All season, as scheduled, after attending a student matinee performance.<br />

Length: 45 minutes<br />

Maximum number of students: 40<br />

Fee: $1 per student.<br />

To book an In Class<br />

Post-Show Discussion<br />

contact Melinda McCrary,<br />

Director of Education &<br />

Community Programs, at<br />

816-235-5708 or<br />

mccrarym@kcrep.org<br />

Students from Wyandotte H.S. participate<br />

during an arts education residency.<br />

Photo: David Riffel.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 43



By Charles Dickens<br />

Adapted by Barbara Field<br />

Directed by Kyle Hatley<br />

A Christmas Carol is produced in partnership with the UMKC<br />

Department of <strong>The</strong>atre and with the generous support of the<br />

Hall Family Foundation.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong>'s favorite holiday tradition is back!<br />

We are celebrating the 30th anniversary of our<br />

original production of Charles Dickens’<br />

A Christmas Carol. Adapted from the classic<br />

novel, this play has thrilled thousands of area<br />

students as they travel with Ebenezer Scrooge<br />

on his journey from bitter, lonely miser to warmhearted,<br />

generous citizen of the world. Refreshed<br />

and refurbished, the Rep's production will have all<br />

of our favorite moments as well as some<br />

captivating surprises. Our student matinees sell<br />

quickly so reserve seats for your students - the<br />

next generation of theatre-goers - today!<br />

Friday, November 19<br />

Tuesday, November 23<br />

Tuesday, November 30<br />

Wednesday, December 1<br />

Thursday, December 2<br />

Tuesday, December 7<br />

Wednesday, December 8<br />

Thursday, December 9<br />

Tuesday, December 14<br />

Wednesday, December 15<br />

Thursday, December 16<br />

Performances begin at 10:30 am.<br />

Located at Spencer <strong>The</strong>atre.<br />

<strong>The</strong>mes and Topics: British literature; Victorian<br />

society and culture; an individual’s responsibility to<br />

society; generosity and celebration; personal<br />

growth and discovery; compassion and<br />

redemption; literature adapted for the stage.<br />

Standards: Missouri-1.5, 1.9; 2.3, 2.4; CA 2, 5-7; FA 1-5; SS 2-6. <strong>Kansas</strong> - Reading 1.3, 1.4; Literature 2.1; <strong>The</strong>atre Drama -<br />

1.1, 5.1-5.4, 6.1; Economics - 2.1, 2.3, 3.4, 3.5; World History - 6.2, 6.5. National - 6,7,8.<br />

For Tickets or Information Contact Amy Tonyes at 816-235-2707 or tonyesal@kcrep.org<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 44



Book by Joe Masteroff<br />

Music by John Kander<br />

Lyrics by Fred Ebb<br />

Directed by Eric Rosen<br />

March 18 - April 10, 2011<br />

Student Matinee –Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 10:00 am.<br />

Located at Spencer <strong>The</strong>atre<br />

$10 per student ticket with one complimentary chaperone ticket per 10 students.<br />

Recommended for High School and up.<br />

1931 Berlin, and the fragile Weimar Republic is being torn apart by radical politics on the<br />

right and left. But inside the Cabaret, the world is alive with seedy glamour and a kind of<br />

freedom never known before -- for now. A young, broke American finds himself entangled<br />

by the dreams of the unforgettable Sally Bowles, who initiates him to the pleasures -- and<br />

dangers -- of the Cabaret.<br />

One of the great musicals of the last century is brought to passionate, vibrant, imaginative<br />

life by Artistic Director Eric Rosen (Venice, A Christmas Story, <strong>The</strong> Musical!, Winesburg, Ohio) -- and pays homage to <strong>Kansas</strong><br />

<strong>City</strong> native and legend John Kander, who, along with Fred Ebb, created one of the most wondrous and powerful theatrical<br />

scores ever.<br />

<strong>The</strong>mes and Topics: Literature adapted for the stage; political and socio-economic culture of 1930s Germany; the rise of the<br />

Nazi party; varying kinds of love and relationships; societal changes; illusion and escapism, identity, rites of passage,<br />

intolerance vs. acceptance.<br />

Standards: Missouri-1.5, 1.9; 2.3, 2.4; CA 2, 5-7; FA 1-5; SS 2-6. <strong>Kansas</strong> - Reading 1.3, 1.4; Literature 2.1; <strong>The</strong>atre Drama -<br />

1.1, 5.1-5.4, 6.1; Economics - 2.1, 2.3, 3.4, 3.5; World History - 6.3, 6.5. National - 6,7,8.<br />


Written by Henrik Ibsen<br />

Adapted and directed by David Schweizer<br />

April 22 - May 22, 2011<br />

Student Matinee –Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 10:00 am.<br />

Located at Copaken Stage<br />

$10 per student ticket with one complimentary chaperone ticket per 10 students.<br />

Recommended for High School and up.<br />

Get ready for a wild, hilarious and surreal adventure in this brilliant adaptation of Ibsen’s<br />

legendary verse play. Based on a Norwegian folk tale with forty characters and five acts,<br />

one of Ibsen’s most influential and famous plays is almost never staged. But now, world<br />

renowned director David Schweizer takes this “impossible to produce” play, a handful of<br />

actors and turns it into an innovative comic adventure that will delight student audiences.<br />

“Wild and funny.” – Los Angeles Times<br />

<strong>The</strong>mes and Topics: Norwegian literature and folk tales; poetic fantasy; myths and fables;<br />

social and economic history of 19th century Norway; morality; identity, personal growth<br />

and self-discovery; maturity; avoidance vs. responsibility; the transformative power of love; classic literature adapted to the<br />

stage and presented in a new way.<br />

Standards: Missouri-1.5, 1.9; 2.3, 2.4; CA 2, 5-7; FA 1-5; SS 6. <strong>Kansas</strong> - Reading 1.3, 1.4; Literature 2.1; <strong>The</strong>atre Drama - 1.1,<br />

5.1-5.4, 6.1. National - 6,7,8.<br />

For Tickets or Information Contact Amy Tonyes at 816-235-2707 or tonyesal@kcrep.org<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 45

UMKC is a great place to get to start a new adventure and open your mind to<br />

knowledge, diverse people and outstanding experiences. So what makes UMKC<br />

worth looking at?<br />

Over 120 degree programs including Art, Business, Biology, Education,<br />

Engineering, Medicine, Music, Nursing, Pharmacy, Spanish, <strong>The</strong>ater and many<br />

more.<br />

Personal attention from faculty and staff. Average class size is 24 students and<br />

there is a 14:1 student to faculty ratio.<br />

Affordable! UMKC has great scholarships ranging from $250 to full paid<br />

expenses per year based on academic performance and leadership.<br />

Great location! Based in the heart of the city of <strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong>, opportunities for<br />

internships, jobs, community service are at a student’s fingertips.<br />

Find your fit at UMKC. <strong>The</strong>re are over 300 student organizations for students<br />

ranging from academics, religion, multicultural, intramurals and more.<br />

Check us out!<br />

For more information, contact<br />

UMKC Office of Admissions<br />

admit@umkc.edu<br />

816-235-UMKC<br />

www.umkcgetalife.com<br />

UP CLOSE:<br />

Our Education Partner<br />

UMKC<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre<br />

is the professional theatre in<br />

residence at UMKC.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 46

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre’s arts education : programs receive generous support<br />

from the following:<br />

This program is presented in part by the <strong>Kansas</strong> Arts<br />

Commission, a state agency, and the National<br />

Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which<br />

believes that a great nation deserves great art.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ArtsKC Fund<br />

Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation<br />

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of <strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong><br />

Citi Cards<br />

Curry Family Foundation<br />

Francis Family Foundation<br />

General Mills Foundation<br />

Hall Family Foundation<br />

Hallmark Corporate Foundation<br />

Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation<br />

Oppenstein Brothers Foundation<br />

Truman Heartland Community Foundation<br />

William Randolph Hearst Foundation<br />


Financial assistance for this project has been provided by the<br />

Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. Also, this project is<br />

supported in part by an award from the National Endowment<br />

for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great<br />

art.<br />

Special Thanks to:<br />

Elizabeth Higbee, Lara Mann, Nambi Kelley,<br />

Jessica <strong>The</strong>bus, Rebecca Stevens, Jeremy<br />

Floyd, Collette Pollard, and Hallie Gordon.<br />

We invite you to email any comments, questions or ideas about <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> and/or this Learning Guide to<br />

Melinda McCrary, Director of Education at: mccrarym@kcrep.org, 816-235-5708 or Amy Tonyes,<br />

Education Associate at: tonyesal@kcrep.org, 816-235-2707.<br />

<strong>Kansas</strong> <strong>City</strong> <strong>Repertory</strong> <strong>The</strong>atre: <strong>Harriet</strong> <strong>Jacobs</strong> | 47

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