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Possessing Harriet


Possessing Harriet

  • “…thought-provoking and emotional….” – Broadway World

    Possessing Harriet, although fraught with universal themes concerning freedom and slavery, the humane and inhumane, or courage and cowardice, localizes these big themes, and puts them into a sharper, more potent context…. [a] 90-minute stunner.” –

    Bass is ahead of [George Bernard] Shaw … His characters feel as though they had lived and are not mere abstractions carrying placards. – Syracuse NewTimes

    Play Description
    In 1839, Harriet Powell, a young, mixed-race, enslaved woman, slips away from a hotel in Syracuse, New York, and escapes from the white Southerner who owns her. With the aid of a worker at the hotel, a mysterious free black man named Thomas Leonard, Harriet finds temporary safe harbor in an attic room at the home of impassioned abolitionist Gerrit Smith. With the slave catchers in pursuit, Harriet spends the hours before her nighttime departure on the dangerous journey to Canada in the company of Smith’s young cousin Elizabeth Cady, an outspoken advocate for women’s equality. Confronted with new and difficult ideas about race, identity, and equality, and with confusion, fear, and desperation multiplying, Harriet is forced to the precipice of radical self-re-imagining and a reckoning with the heartrending cost of her freedom.


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