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The Return of Harriet Tubman
423 Central Ave NW
Albuquerque NM 87102
Harriet’s Return: Amy Biehl High School Foundation
Amy Biehl High School graduates civic-minded, college bound students who embrace the values of service and scholarship embodied by the school’s namesake. In this spirit, on Sunday, Sept. 15, the Amy Biehl High School Foundation is pleased to present the critically acclaimed play Harriet’s Return as a tribute to one of our nation’s most courageous “upstanders”—and most celebrated Underground Railroad conductor, Harriet Tubman. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of her death, the performance is a riveting portrayal of Harriet Tubman’s public and private life—bearing witness to her courageous endeavors at a critical time in our nation’s history and rekindling a call to action for our community and beyond.
How is this story of Harriet Tubman different than others?
Most people think of her as a gun-toting, no-nonsense, I’ll-kill-you-if-I-have-to woman. Harriet’s Return: Based Upon the Legendary Life of Harriet Tubman begins in a contemporary restaurant, “I was on a date, eating swordfish poached in champagne with more trimmings than you can imagine…” and reveals the breadth of her achievements and personality through a 93-year romp of humor, innocence, romance, terror and put-your-body-where-your-convictions-lie action.
People fear and are uneasy with the subject of slavery. Isn’t this a hard sell?
I tell people Harriet’s Return is a play about many kinds of freedoms and power, not slavery. The universal appeal of this show is that you are with Harriet. She takes you on a journey into your own freedom. Portraying 31 characters from a persecuted child to a rebellious teen—“Fourteen’s when I learned the power of my thoughts, and the consequences for lettin’ people drag me into their system of hate…”—to falling in love, escaping, encountering a broad strange world, befriending John Brown, leading Civil War troops and sheltering the aged and homeless—Harriet jolts us into living our lives thoroughly and for the joy of it. This is what I intended.
Why did you partner with Amy Biehl High School?
Although continuing to tour nationally, this is probably my last performance in Albuquerque, and I’m thrilled it is with the Amy Biehl High School Foundation. Harriet Tubman made major economic and time contribution to schools. She was brilliant and knew the value of real education, the kind that Amy Biehl High School exemplifies. One of my favorite lines in the play is “Love ain’t no sentiment, it’s an action.” Amy Biehl knew this; she died for social justice. The oldest form of education is through story. Story can eliminate hard lessons so that we don’t have to die for a cause. We can live in and as wholeness if we know how, if we are willing to learn from those who came before us and left not only legacies, but patterns of peace to follow.
When can people see this performance?
Sunday, Sept. 15 at 3pm at the KiMo.
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