By William Massolia.
Directed by Dorothy Milne.
Produced by Griffin Theatre.
At The Den’s Heath Main Stage, Chicago.
Thought-provoking testimonies to our immigrant heritage. In a time
In our present time when Trump is trying to curb immigration, Griffin’s artistic director William Massolia has penned a work from the letters and other writings of the various ethnic groups and races that found their way to the American shores from Jamestown in the early 1600’s to present day refuges from the Middle East and Asia. With the help of video projections (by Brock Alter), Massolia presents a crew of thirteen actors, sporting authentic ethnic accents, to depict the vast and various groups who found their way to the American shores in search of a bitter life.
Juanita Andersen,Katie Campbell, Jennifer Cheung, Aneisa Hicks, Christopher W. Jones, Francisco Lopez, Adam Marcantoni, Sean McGill, Rasika Ranganathan, Omer Abbas Salem, Scott Shimizu, Jason VonRohn, and Elizabeth Hope Williams each had their moments to sparkle as either Irish, Dutch, German, native American, Indian, Chinese, Japanese or African (etc.). Massolia’s research found letters, books, chronicles, public records and other records that spoke to who, why and when each group arrived InTo America.
Most groups arrived here to escape persecution, war or economic plight. Others camr to fulfill their hopes and dreams for a new life. This show dramatized over 60 personal immigrant narratives representing more that 30 countries. covering more that 400 years of multicultural world history. Included here are the story of both African slaves and white indentured servants (semi-slaves?).
One of the most telling traits of this show is the treatment of common men and women, the real immigrants, not the upper-class privileged immigrants who came here with land grants and armies. This presentation is about common folks in their own words. We hear their plights and their desires – and – their problems one they arrived. We realize that discrimination was always a fabric of the American Experience. That fear of new arrivals, especially those who looked different and had different cultures, was hard to assimilate yet somehow they did become “Americans.”
In To America is a fitting tribute to the spirit of what it really means to be an American. It is a reminder that our strength as a country comes from the toughness and willingness to sacrifice and assimilate into a special country…based in “unalienable Rights’ of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
In the Age of Trump, we sure need reminding of our past..too bad we can’t hog-tie Trump and make him and his cronies sit through a performance of In To America? But we can get students to see this marvelous tribute to the spirit of those tough souls who braved hardships to get to American. In To American brings their stories to life. See this important show!
At The Den’s Health Main Stage, 1323 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL, call 866-811-4111, www.griffintheatre.com, tickets $36, seniors/veterans $31, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3:30 pm, running time is 100 minutes without intermission.