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The Wirtz Center, in partnership with the Alliance Theatre, presents:
NATIVE GUARD
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of poetry by Northwestern University Professor and Former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. Directed by Susan V. Booth, Alliance Theatre Artistic Director.
Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 7:30PM

Wirtz Theatre in Abbott Hall
Chicago Campus of Northwestern University
710 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
Located in the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for Performing and Media Arts inside Abbott Hall on the downtown Chicago Campus of Northwestern University. Main entrance located on the southeast corner of Lake Shore Drive and Superior Street.

The inaugural production in the new Wirtz Theater in the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for Performing and Media Arts in Abbott Hall on the downtown Chicago Campus

Native Guard, the Pulitzer Prize winning collection of poetry by Northwestern University Professor and Former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, will be staged this season as the inaugural production at the newly dedicated Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for Performing and Media Arts in Chicago. First adapted for the stage by the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta in 2014 to sold-out audiences, Native Guard juxtaposes the deeply personal experiences of Trethewey, a child of a then-illegal marriage between her African-American mother and Caucasian father living in 1960s Mississippi, with the experience of a soldier in the Native Guard, the first African-American Union troop in the Civil War who was charged with guarding white Confederate captives. Years after her mother’s tragic death, Trethewey reclaims her memory, just as she reclaims the voices of the black soldiers whose service has been all but forgotten.

Native Guard is approximately 90 minutes long, including the Act One performance, the 15-minute intermission, and the Act Two discussion. The first act of the performance is the actual performance part of your experience. The script is the entire text of Natasha Tretheway’s book of poetry, Native Guard. We are not bending poetry to fit the form of theatre; we are bending theatre to find its form with poetry. Act 2 is a chance to gather to share your experience of the piece. During the conversation, please share what thoughts you first had when you encountered Tretheway’s words, whether the thoughts are memories of yours, or memories of world history. This conversation will be led by a special guest host, and will last about 30 minutes.