Inspired by real events, the play "focuses on the amount of space — literal and metaphorical — made available to African Americans by the white-dominated culture," according to InterAct production notes. "Gibbons explores the conflict between the newly-appointed African American director and the museum's longtime caucasian education director who holds strongly to the museum's exclusionary charter. Fueled by an overzealous newspaper reporter, and complicated by a young woman's conflicting sympathies, the private debate becomes public, and both men face off across the great racial divide."
Director Seth Rozin, who is InterAct's co-founder, said in a statement: "Permanent Collection represents the continued development of a very fertile relationship between InterAct and our resident playwright of 12 years."
Gibbons' last play premiered by InterAct, bee-luther-hatchee, has since been produced at more than 25 professional theatres across the United States.
The Permanent Collection cast features Frank X, Tim Moyer, Maureen Torsney-Weir, Tom McCarthy, Sheila Stewart and Ayoka Dorsey.
Gibbons also penned Black Russian and 6221, his 1993 play about the MOVE tragedy in Philadelphia. The new play was inspired by events at the Barnes Foundation and the real-life "saga of former director Richard Glanton's suit against the Foundation, as well as the struggle over relocating the Barnes' fascinating and eclectic collection." The work is fictional, however, and "is not intended as an historical account either of actual events or of persons living or dead." Designers are Nick Embree (set), Peter Whinnery (lighting), Andre Harrington (costume) and Kevin Francis (sound).
Performances continue to Nov. 23 at 2030 Sansom Street. For ticket information, call (215) 568-8079 or visit www.InterActTheatre.org.