A New Play about Two Unlikely Heroes in Newark
SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY
A Play about a Boy and a Lunch Lady Surviving Together in Newark
Staged Reading and Discussion June 24th at NJPAC
WEST ORANGE, NJ (June 8, 2016) – New Jersey Theatre Alliance, in partnership with New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Newark Celebration 350, invites the public to a reading and discussion of Surely Goodness and Mercy, a play-in-progress by Chisa Hutchinson on Friday, June 24th at 7:00 p.m. in the Chase Room at NJPAC in Newark. Surely Goodness and Mercy is one of three new plays by New Jersey playwrights about New Jersey issues commissioned this year through the NJPAC Stage Exchange program.
The play is about Tino, a fictional Newark school boy who is sent to live with an abusive aunt after his mother dies protecting him in a street fight. Tino befriends the cantankerous lunch lady at his school who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and has difficulty getting the healthcare she needs. The two unlikely friends band together to help each other navigate a world of violence, privation, and injustice.
“The play that I’m working on is about Newark, New Jersey,” said Hutchinson. “I’ve been able to plug into the community that’s around me, right here, and it’s vibrant and rich. I’m feeling a lot of local love, and I get to give back that love. The Newark community will see themselves reflected on stage and have their existence validated as significant and important. In the play there are some poor folks, some black folks, some curmudgeonly folks, some old folks, some angry folks. You’ll get a glimpse into the lives of people who are under-represented in theatre.”
Chisa Hutchinson is a member of New Dramatists, a Humanitas New Voices Fellow, and a Tow Playwright-in-Residence at Second Stage Theater in New York. Her plays have been produced by the Lark Play Development Center, City Parks’ Summerstage, the New York NeoFuturists, Partial Comfort, Mad Dog Productions, Atlantic Theater Company, NJPAC, New Dramatists, Rattlestick Theater, the Contemporary-American Theater Festival, Midtown Direct Rep, Writers Theatre of New Jersey, Second Stage Theater, Forward Flux Theater, the Working Theater, and FilmGym. Hutchinson earned a BA in Dramatic Arts from Vassar College and an MFA in Playwriting from NYU.
The event on June 24th at NJPAC includes a reading of the script by professional actors, followed by a panel discussion and open Q&A, where audience members can share their perspectives on the many issues addressed in this play: children living with abuse, adults living with MS, and the experiences of low-income families in Newark. Panelists include playwright Chisa Hutchinson; Stuart Cook, MD, the Ruth Dunietz Kushner and Michael Jay Serwitz Chair in Multiple Sclerosis and Director of the MS Diagnostic Treatment Center at Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School; Rosemary S. McGee, a humanities scholar and medical humanities faculty member at Morristown Medical Center; Dr. Ellen Anthony Moore, an assistant professor of theatre arts at Marymount Manhattan College; and Sharon Zucker, Dean of Guidance at NJ SEEDS.
As part of the NJPAC Stage Exchange program, Hutchinson is working with Writers Theatre of New Jersey, a professional theatre organization in Madison, NJ, that will present a full-scale production of Surely Goodness and Mercy in 2017.
Admission to the reading is $5, and proceeds will benefit NJSEEDS, an organization that changes the lives of motivated, high-achieving students from low-income families by transforming their educational opportunities.
Tickets can be purchased at njpac.org/events/detail/njpac-stage-exchange-the-commissions, or by calling 1-888-GO-NJPAC (1-888-466-5722). NJPAC is located at One Center Street in Newark.