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Talking about the Production of Surely Goodness and Mercy at Passage Theatre Company!

By Samara Finkle

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Passage Theatre Company in Trenton, NJ will present an online production of Chisa Hutchinson’s Surely Goodness and Mercy, directed by marcus d. harvey. The production will be available to stream online from March 25th through March 28th, 2021, ticketing information can be found here. 

We had the opportunity to talk to Chisa and marcus about their journey with this show, check out what they had to say below!

So I know this show is a new version of the original material and more “young adult friendly version” can you tell me what was the decision to make this new version?

Chisa:  When I wrote this I didn’t intend to write it for a young audience, I wanted to write a show that resonates with people. I know today that kids are going through tough things and I wanted to revise it and write something for them that doesn’t look like a Degrassi style of life.  I want kids who don’t live that type of life to be seen and heard.

Do you think there are some themes in the show that families will resonate with?

Chisa: Bernadette and Tino cultivate a family. They will fight for each other and be there for each other and I think families can resonate with that.

marcus: The way in which they do it with care and the resources they have readily available to them is inspiring for all. 

I was a lot like Tino and I would get free / reduced lunches and sometimes my mom would forget to give me the money for it but our lunch lady would always make sure I ate and in a way she would protect me like Bernadette does to Tino.  This sort of situation happens all the time and people need to know about it.

Can you talk about the grant the show received?

Chisa: The show received a grant called the Bridge Program which helps NNPN Member Theaters to develop, produce, and extend the life of new plays by theater artists who are Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) in their re-imagined 2020-21/2021 seasons.

marcus: Artists who received this grant met on Zoom last week and it was like entering a cohort of BIPOC artists who are working on projects in white spaces.  It was nice to get to commune with them. 

After the show at the Passage Theatre – what’s next for you both?

Chisa:  I’m not going to lie, the pandemic has made me turn towards TV/Film so I’ve been working with that, I’m also working on a radio play about a convicted murder for the Dorset Theatre Festival and we are hoping to turn that into a podcast series.  I’ve been getting more requests to put on Surely Goodness and Mercy so that’s exciting for sure.

marcus: I’ve been writing a play, I’m really interested in exploring mental health, suicide and depression in my work and in particular how colleges handle those types of situations.  It happens too often in colleges and you’ll notice that colleges are often afraid to use the word suicide when talking about it.. 

When live theater returns, what changes do you want to see for the industry?

marcus: Less white people.

Chisa. I want to see more black people, more latinos, and just more diversity.

marcus: With this show I was really adamant about having people of color on the team –  this show is told from Chisa and her black woman perspective so I wanted to honor that.

Rapid Fire:

Favorite Drink:

Chisa: Orange Juice.. That’s like my coffee in the morning!

marcus: Pineapple Juice

Dogs Vs. Cats: 

Chisa: Dogs!

marcus: Neither

Motto: 

Chisa: “Be constructive with your blues” those Radiohead lyrics have always stuck with me!

marcus: “On the other side of fear is possibility”


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