May FEATURE: “fugitive/slave/act” by Michael Gene Sullivan

We are excited to announce our May Feature: Award Winning Actor, Director and Playwright, Michael Gene Sullivan with his play, “fugitive/slave/act”
Monday, May 14, 2018
the cell
$10 Suggested
~Wine and Refreshments Served~


William Parker is an intelligent, passionate Black man who – with his wife Eliza and their children – leases a small farm near the little town of Christiana, southern Pennsylvania. Living so close to the Maryland border should be unexceptional – except that the year is 1850, William and Eliza are both escaped slaves, and Maryland is a slave state. Even in the free state of Pennsylvania life for runaway slaves is tenuous, but after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act – wherein any U.S. citizen is law-bound to aid in the capture of escaped “property” – William, his family, and the may other escaped slaves in the community live under the constant threat of being betrayed by their law-abiding neighbors, and dragged back to slavery. So when the community hears of a party of slaveowners coming North to re-capture some escapees now living on his farm William must decide between running further North, or standing his ground.
Edward Gorsuch, Maryland slaveowner, searches southern Pennsylvania for two of his slaves. An honest, God-fearing man, Gorsuch does not suffer fools or cowards lightly, and has a strong sense of right and wrong. With his beloved son, Davidson, and a U.S. Marshall, he has come North on what he feels is a righteous quest for his legal “property,” and simply wants his slaves to accept their circumstances as ordained by the Lord, and to return to their senses – and his plantation.
Based on a true story fugitive/slave/act is the epic tale of that confrontation – which turns from capture to bloody battle – the resulting trial for murder and treason, and the national hysteria that almost started the United States Civil War a decade early.


Michael Gene Sullivan is award-winning actor, director, and playwright. Based in San Francisco Michael’s plays have been produced at theaters throughout the United States, in Greece, England, Germany, Scotland, Spain, Columbia, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, as well as at the Melbourne International Arts Festival (Australia), the International Festival of Verbal Art (Berlin), The Spoleto Festival, (Italy), and the The Hong Kong Arts Festival. For the past 17 years Michael has been Resident Playwright for the Tony and OBIE award-winning (and despite its name never, ever silent) San Francisco Mime Troupe, where he has written or co-written over 20 plays. He is also a Resident Playwright for the Playwrights Foundation, and was awarded a 2017 artist residency at the Djerassi Arts Center. Michael’s non-Mime Troupe plays include the award-winning all-woman political farce Recipe, Red Carol, his critically-acclaimed one person show, Did Anyone Ever Tell You-You Look Like Huey P. Newton?, and his stage adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984, which opened at Los Angeles’ Actors’ Gang Theatre under the direction of Academy Award winning actor Tim Robbins. 1984 has since been produced nationally and internationally, is published in the United States, Canada, and Spain, and in 2018 will open in Kiev, Ukraine, and Amsterdam, Netherlands, its fourth and fifth languages.
In association with “Playwrights Foundation”