A Single Shard opens at People’s Light, April 27

Single Shard Press Release

A Single Shard opens April 27 at People’s Light.

MALVERN — People’s Light will present the regional premiere of A Single Shard, a highly theatrical adaptation of Linda Sue Park’s Newbery Award-winning novel by Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Schenkkan. Celebrated theatre artist Seema Sueko directs an all-star cast that includes Broadway veterans Thom Sesma and Greg Watanabe.

PNC Arts Alive sponsors the production, which runs from April 27-May 29, 2016 on the Leonard C. Haas stage. A Single Shard also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. People’s Light is located at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA 19355. For tickets, call 610.644.3500 or visit peopleslight.org.

“A Single Shard will transfix audiences of all generations. It vividly captures how every aspect of humanity has a vital purpose,” says Producing Director Zak Berkman.

We step from today, here and now, into an imagined 12th Century Korea, where family is central to society, an impoverished orphan named Tree-Ear lives under a bridge in Ch’ulp’o village. Enamored by the art of pottery, Tree-Ear secretly watches the extraordinary craftsman Master Potter Min until one day he accidentally breaks one of Min’s carefully-wrought pieces. Tree-Ear offers his labor as repayment and begins a journey that tests his resilience, deepens his passion, and forever transforms his belief in himself.

“This story illuminates how regardless of your wealth or occupation, the kind of shoes you wear, or the mountains you choose to scale, you can transform the world you are part of with simple acts of grace, forgiveness, and bravery,” says Berkman. “To tell this universal story, we’ve assembled an extraordinary and diverse ensemble of artists from across the country.”

Associate Artistic Director of Pasadena Playhouse, Seema Sueko makes her People’s Light debut directing A Single Shard. She is especially taken by the play’s focus on transformation. “It takes courage and perseverance to change a lump of ‘dirt’ into art, an outcast into a family member, anger into love,

and a single shard of broken pottery into an opportunity to make life whole,” Sueko says. “At the beginning of this process, I asked myself, the design team, and the cast, ‘What if we use the actors’ bodies and voices, masks, and multiple scenic elements to transform time, location, and character?’ Those questions inspired the production aesthetic.”

A Single Shard features two Broadway veterans in their Malvern debut, Thom Sesma as Master Potter Min and Greg Watanabe as Master Potter Kang. Acclaimed stage and screen actor Jeanne  Sakata appears at People’s Light for the first time as Min’s wife and Philadelphia actor Aaron Bell also makes his People’s Light debut. Long-time company member Graham Smith plays Crane Man. Returning guest artists include Brian Lee Huynh as Tree-Ear, most recently seen as Arthur in Auctioning the Ainsleys (2015), and Taysha Canales, last seen as Lydia Lubey in All My Sons (2015). People’s Light is delighted to welcome PEW fellow Jungwoong Kim as both ensemble member and choreographer.

Set Designer David F. Weiner makes his People’s Light debut along with Costume Designer Moria Sine Clinton and Lighting Designer Porsche McGovern. Daniel Perelstein returns to People’s Light as Sound Designer. Company members on the production team include Stage Manager Kate McSorley Fossner, Resident Dramaturg Gina Pisasale, and Fight Director Samantha Reading.

Director Sueko has earned a national reputation as a visionary leader in the realm of community- connected theatre-making. “There’s a strong kinship between how Seema cultivates community investment and engagement through cross-sector partnerships and how we work at People’s Light.”  says Artistic Director & CEO Abigail Adams. To enhance the community impact of A Single  Shard, People’s Light sought the support of PNC Arts Alive and received a prestigious grant to increase access  to the production.

“We’re honored that PNC Arts Alive has made it possible for us to produce A Single Shard in a way that brings so many new people to our campus, and enhances their experience while they’re here,” she says. “People’s Light was one of only 22 arts organizations in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region to be selected for this prestigious award.” With this award, we are able to produce a series of free surround programs on our campus, including hands-on clay modeling, demonstrations, and a chance to meet the author.

As part of this grant, People’s Light is able to partner with libraries and community centers in Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties to connect young people to A Single Shard through  book giveaways, ticket raffles, and interactive workshops. For more information, visit your local library and community center websites or www.peopleslight.org/production/asingleshard.

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