Protests at the Barnes inspired ‘Permanent Collection’

The Barnes is a source of controversy in "Permanent Collection." Credit: Julie M. Toth
The Barnes Foundation is a source of controversy in “Permanent Collection.”
Credit: Julie M. Toth

At the end of Thomas Gibbons’ 2003 play “Permanent Collection,” inspired by racially charged conflicts at the Barnes Foundation, the prospect of relocating the Main Line museum to the city is raised. Ten years later, audiences in Philadelphia are very aware of how that particular controversy played out in real life.

“Now that it has happened, I think the play gives us a different perspective on what was gained or what was lost by the move,” Gibbons says.

A decade after InterAct Theatre Company’s premiere of the play, artistic director Seth Rozin is reviving “Permanent Collection” as part of the company’s 25th anniversary season. The piece, which won the 2004 Barrymore Award for outstanding new play, is the most successful production in the company’s history. Four of the six original cast members are returning, as are several members of the original design team.

A lot has happened in the last 10 years outside of the Barnes as well. “The dramatic situation of the play is one of the primal dramatic situations: A stranger comes to town,” Gibbons says. “In the last several years, it’s been interesting to see how that mirrors Barack Obama being elected president, which is in a sense the same kind of story. There’s not a one-to-one parallel, but there are eerie resonances.”

“Permanent Collection” was inspired by the protests of the Barnes’ Lower Merion neighbors to a proposed new parking lot at the site. The Barnes’ then-president Richard Glanton accused the neighbors of racism; they retaliated by suing him for slander.

At the time, Gibbons was working primarily with themes of race in plays set in Philadelphia, including “6221,” about the MOVE bombing, and “A House With No Walls,” about the President’s House site. He points to the controversial recent Philadelphia Magazine cover story “Being White in Philly” as proof that those concerns are still ongoing in the city.

“Philadelphia offers up these stories on a pretty regular basis,” he says. “So it’s impossible to just pretend that race is no longer an issue, which some people would like to think.”

‘Permanent Collection’
Through May 5
Adrienne Theater
2030 Sansom St.
$20-$40, 215-568-8079
www.interacttheatre.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Local

Local politicians pressure DOJ to investigate Ramarley Graham…

On what would have been his 21st birthday, Ramarley Graham's mother joined elected leaders to ask the U.S. Department of Justice investigate his death.

Local

Muslim leaders welcome NYPD surveillance changes with degree…

Leaders and advocates praise the NYPD's move to shut down a unit tied to its Muslim surveillance program but say there's more left to do.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

NHL

Marc Staal healthy, eager to contribute to Rangers…

Marc Staal remembers the feeling of helplessness watching his teammates compete for hockey’s ultimate prize and being unable to contribute.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

Masahiro Tanaka dominates Cubs over eight shutout innings

Masahiro Tanaka certainly had no-hit caliber stuff Wednesday as he allowed just two bunt singles.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.