Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Fighting for Democracy: Behind the Scenes, Part 6 – The Writers [VIDEO]

January 10, 2012 by Karen Gross


Welcome to the sixth edition of an ongoing video interview series with the creative team behind Fighting for Democracy: Who is the “We” in “We the People”?, on view at the National Constitution Center through January 16, 2012.

This interview features the playwriting team behind the world premiere Fighting for Democracy theatrical performance: Suli Holum, playwright, Makoto Hirano, associate writer, and Allison Heishman, dramaturg.

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Suli Holum co-founded Philadelphia’s acclaimed Pig Iron Theatre Company, where she was a co-artistic director and head of education and outreach from 1996-2001, then company member from 2001-2006. She was a recipient of the Shell Fellowship in Drama from the National Institute of Education and received a Drama Desk Award as part of the ensemble of Israel Horowitz’s Lebensraum. She has taught at The University of the Arts, as a resident teaching artist at People’s Light and Theatre, with Philadelphia Young Playwrights Festival, at Goddard College, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Lincoln Center and the Public Theatre in New York City.

Makoto Hirano is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary performance artist and rhyme-poet. His original solo and ensemble dance-theatre works have been presented by numerous national venues and festivals including Yale University, The National Asian American Theater Festival (NYC), Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre (Pittsburgh), Goose Route Dance Festival (WV) and The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival. Makoto is a recipient of an Independence Foundation Fellowship. He is a former U.S. Marine.

Allison Heishman is the theater programs manager at the National Constitution Center and an artistic associate at Azuka Theatre. She has worked as a freelance theater artist in Philadelphia for the last eight years, finding work as an actor and director for some of the most exciting small theater companies in the city.

Fighting for Democracy unites a must-see, multimedia exhibition from the Japanese American National Museum with a stirring, original theatrical production created by the National Constitution Center.  Paying homage to ordinary Americans with extraordinary legacies, this groundbreaking exhibit-theater hybrid illuminates the real-life experiences of a diverse group of seven Americans who bravely fought for equality, freedom and justice overseas and at home during World War II. For more info, click here.

Fighting for Democracy: Behind the Scenes video interviews were conducted and edited by Karen Gross, the National Constitution Center’s Communications Writer and Editor. Still photography by Jeff Fusco.

Fighting for Democracy is presented by the National Constitution Center in partnership with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, an educational program of the Japanese American National Museum, and is funded in part by the U.S. Army Center of Military History. The traveling exhibition has been made possible through the support of The Boeing Company. The National Constitution Center also thanks the following for generous support: The CHG Charitable Trust, Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, Dorrance H. Hamilton, William M. King Charitable Foundation, Macy’s, National Endowment for the Arts, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Heritage Philadelphia Program, Team Clean Inc., Verizon Foundation, Wyncote Foundation.


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