Surely Goodness and Mercy: A Story of Love and Hope

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courtesy photo

Rehearsal photo

By Alina Hansen

Salt Lake Acting Company presents “Surely Goodness and Mercy” from September 6th through October 15th. This is Salt Lake Acting Company’s (SLAC) 47th season and the production of “Surely Goodness and Mercy is the first of this play’s Rolling World Premiere from the National New Play Network.

Written by Chisa Hutchinson and Directed by Alicia Washington, “Surely Goodness and Mercy” is a story about how we help and support each other in difficult circumstances, “In an under-funded African-American school in Newark, New Jersey, a twelve-year old Bible-toting, motherless outcast with a photographic memory meets a sixty-year old childless woman who works in the school cafeteria. Against all odds, together, they teach and learn the real meaning of life.” (SLAC)

The Playwright

In a phone interview with the playwright Chisa Hutchinson, Hutchinson said the inspiration for “Surely Goodness and Mercy” comes from the Newark Community in New Jersey where she grew up and lives today. Hutchinson wrote “Surely Goodness and Mercy as a homage to the Newark Community, a predominately poor, crime filled area that lacked proper funding for education. Hutchinson emphasizes her work on under-represented people in order to bring more perspectives to audiences through theatre.

Surely Goodness and Mercy is a story that counters a popular idea in film and theatre that those in the African-American communities can only be saved from poor living conditions by wealthy Caucasians. This play breaks these stereotypes and infuses strength and love within African-American characters, showing that those in poor communities can come together and help each other overcome the hardships they encounter daily. Hutchinson also remarked that the National New Play Network holds a key part in exposing relatively unknown plays and playwrights across America, allowing for connections, like this one, to SLAC and Salt Lake City, to be made.

The Director

Surely Goodness and Mercy” is Alicia Washington’s Directorial Debut. She has worked for SLAC for many years and is overjoyed to be directing this play. In a brief interview with Washington, details about the production and working with Hutchinson were given.

In the beginning of production for “Surely Goodness and Mercy” at SLAC, Chisa Hutchinson came to Salt Lake City to help collaborate with Washington and the cast. This was the first time that Washington had the opportunity to work alongside a playwright during production. Hutchinson helped in explaining lines and going over details with Washington and the actors, giving a deeper understanding of the play. This allowed for a unique experience between the cast, director, and playwright that normally does not happen in theatre. Washington emphasized the importance of diversity in the Arts, acknowledging that SLAC’s choice to present a play that is focused on particular African-American communities is crucial to Salt Lake City’s diverse culture.

This play offers unique perspectives of those in under-represented communities that may not have their voices or experiences generally heard by audiences in theatres. The choice of SLAC to feature this play for their 2017-18 season marks it as a unique and beneficial source of exceptional and diverse theatre in Salt Lake City.

Tickets are available at https://tickets.saltlakeactingcompany.org/ and range from $24-$43. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, Students, and Seniors. Subscribers to SLAC pay the lowest price.

Showtimes are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30PM, and Sundays at 1PM and 6PM.

Running Time: 120 minutes (approx.)

Content Warning: Implied child abuse and frequent use of explicit language.