An Interview with Harrison Baxley of “The Giver”

1. What do you like about performing in an adaptation of such a famous story?  

Harrison: It has been wonderful to talk to people about their experience with the book. From cast members to family members, anyone who has read the book has a sort of connection to it. Some feel very personally about the story, as it had such an impact on their youth. The book has a lot to say. It talks about truth, and memories, love, emotions, and ignorance. Doing the right thing when it’s also the hard thing. A lot of people love the book and feel very passionately about what it’s trying to say. It’s been a remarkable experience to hear what the story means to them.

2. Tell me about your experience performing with young actors and what you like about that experience? 

Harrison: The young actors are basically just young professionals. They show up everyday ready to work. This isn’t my first time working with ThinkTank or these kids, but they never cease to amaze me. They take notes with grace, offer suggestions, and make strong choices. There are times where they steal the show right out from under us. I can tell you firsthand, the future of theatre is in good hands

3. What are some things you think the audience will take away from this production? 

Harrison: I think they’ll take away how empowering it is to have choices. It also deals with people who lie to their community in order to keep them “safe” and whether or not it’s worth it. I think that’s something we all fear and hope is isn’t true. Maybe they’ll ride home talking about whether safety is worth giving up choice and whether or not one has to give way for the other, or if they can exist in harmony.

4. Tell us about the “Relaxed Performances” and why you think that’s important to present theater for young audiences? 

Harrison: The Relaxes Performances are a version of the same show where the doors stay open on case anyone needs to step out for a moment. We don’t do any major strobe effects or loud noises, and the actors don’t yell or do anything too frightening.  ThinkTank has been doing relaxed performances since it’s very first show. One of the cast members had a sibling on the autism spectrum who wanted to see the production very badly but just couldn’t sit through the whole thing. The relaxed performances allowed her to do just that. It’s imperative that we have these for inclusion. We want to inspire a new generation of theatre makers and we pride ourselves on making theatre for ALL. And all means folks who can’t sit still for two hours or handle flashing lights and loud noises. They still deserve to be a part of this story and experience. It’s one of the aspects of Thinktank I am most proud of. I’m so grateful we have a company in the community who values it’s audience like that. I wish more companies in the area would start doing them too.

THINKTANK THEATRE’S ‘THE GIVER’ will be presented at Stageworks Nov.19. – December 12

Adapted by Eric Coble

Based on the Newbery Award-winning novel by Lois Lowry 

Directed by Georgia Mallory Guy

For more information or to purchase tickets, please call (813) 556-T.REP (8737), or visit. http://www.tamparep.org or https://www.thinktanktya.org/. Tickets range from $20–$40 (ticket prices are subject to change). ThinkTank Theatre can also be found across social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Like and follow us to receive the latest in ThinkTank news and special offers.

‘THE GIVER’ and the rest of the 2021-2022 season of performing arts events for ThinkTank Theatre is made possible through the generous support of The Gobioff Foundation, The Arts Council of Hillsborough County and the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners, The Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, The University of Tampa Physician Assistant Program, Palma Ceia Fit Body, Dark Door Spirits, Event Show Productions, the ThinkTank BOD, and ThinkTank’s many generous donors and  supporters.  

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