Stories From Home
[Collaborators on the project are: Bill Gile -- Director, Jennifer Donaldson -- Folklorist, Daniel Drew -- Designer, and with Dodie Barrington as coordinator.]
Originally presented as a workshop production at New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1993 and revised and presented at Rutgers University in 1994.
Equity Showcase production at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center, September, 1994.
Free At Three Series at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre, January 1995.
Stories From Home consists of many folk tales often heard in their countries of origin, but rarely recounted here in America. The ensemble narrates and dramatize the tales.
The tales are connected by actor-characters' personal stories about their journey to becoming American. Their personal themes are echoed back into the tales.
The play shows the human struggle for not only survival, but to find a connection toward unity in our culturally diverse America.
Stories From Home relies on the talents of seven multinational actors plus one percussionist. The piece has very few costume or set demands and can easily travel.
Character Breakdown: The commedia dell'arte slots are:
The LEADING LADY (Jewish-American) was played by Alison Bevan.
The YOUNG CHARACTER MAN (African-American) was played by Kevin Davis.
The TALL LEADING MAN (Jamaican-American) was played by Robert McKay.
The PERCUSSIONIST (Italian-American) was Grace Millan.
The JUVENILE (Japanese-American) was played by Chris Odo.
The INGÉNUE (Chinese-American) was played by Fay Rusli.
The YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN (African-American) was played by Sandra Mills Scott.
The LEADING MAN (Spanish-American) was played by Patrick Stephenson.
We were fortunate to find these extraordinarily talented actors. The actors were chosen for their versatility and athleticism. We were able to incorporate many kinds of movement based on the physical gifts and skills of the performers. We have included the specific life details of each of our actors' specific stories. Obviously, as the cast changes, the details of their stories will change as well. The ethnic breakdown included here is a good one, but not ridged.
Set and Sounds:
One unit set that has movable parts that can easily be manipulated by the performers. All sound and music should be generated organically by the percussionist and/or the performers. Costume pieces should imply their characters rather than be a full representation. The magic storytelling is the power in this show, not the visuals.
(Note about the stories and personal monologues: They can vary from cast to cast. Also there are a number of other short plays that have been work-shopped and are not included in this compilation. One of the special pieces not included is a twelve minute story about the journey of Harriet Tubman.)
Opening: Bells and Introductions
Monologue #1_ Know These Things
NARRATOR/TALL LEADING MAN
MAMA/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN
ROOSTER/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN
AUNT PIGEON/LEADING LADY
African Skull: Nigeria
HUNTER/TALL LEADING MAN
KING/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN
Monologue #2_ Pirates
TALL LEADING MAN
Demon's Tail: Eastern Europe
SERVANT/TALL LEADING MAN
JOSE/TALL LEADING MAN
FISHERMAN #2/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN
Lion's Mane: Ethiopia
GUDINA/TALL LEADING MAN
WISEMAN/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN
Monologue #3_ Mixed Marriage
YOUNG CHARACTER MAN
Canyon of Abandonment: Japan
Monologue #4_ Survival Spoon
Contract With Azrael: Egypt
SANDAL SELLER/SERVANT/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN
MAN/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN
RUBY SELLER/AZRAEL/TALL LEADING MAN
Monologue #5_ Kitchen God
SKY PEOPLE: Guatemala, Mayan
YOUNG MAN/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN
SKY PEOPLE LEADER/LEADING LADY
Monologue #6_ Bus
YOUNG CHARACTER MAN
Sun and Moon: North America, Cherokee
Monologue #7_ Forgiveness
A Miracle!: Eastern Europe, Jewish
RABBI AS NARRATOR/LEADING LADY
IZZY/TALL LEADING MAN
YENTEL/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN
CHENTZEL/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN
MONK/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN
BISHOP/TALL LEADING MAN
MOTHER/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN
Monologue #8_ Grandmother Dance
TALL LEADING MAN
Anansi Five: West Indies
QUEEN/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN
ANANSI/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN
Banyan Tree: India
SAGE/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN
KING/TALL LEADING MAN
MOTHER IN LAW/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN
FATHER IN LAW/JUVENILE
Monologue #9_ Trail of Tears
YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN
PIONEER WOMAN/LEADING LADY
IROQUOIS CHANTER/TALL LEADING MAN
IROQUOIS CHANTER/LEADING MAN
IROQUOIS CHANTER/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN