Stories From Home

(writing sample)  (return to plays)

Production History:

[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.

Story:

     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.

Act Breakdown: 

(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.)

   ACT ONE:

Opening:  Bells and Introductions

Monologue #1_ Know These Things

                  JUVENILE

Owl:  Haiti

                  NARRATOR/TALL LEADING MAN

                  OWL/JUVENILE

                  DAUGHTER/INGÉNUE

                  MAMA/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

                  ROOSTER/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

                  AUNT PIGEON/LEADING LADY

African Skull:  Nigeria

                  SKULL/LEADING LADY

                  HUNTER/TALL LEADING MAN

                  KING/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

Monologue #2_ Pirates

                  TALL LEADING MAN

Demon's Tail:  Eastern Europe

                  MAN/LEADING MAN

                  WIZARD/JUVENILE

                  SERVANT/TALL LEADING MAN

Contrary:  Mexico

                  MIGUEL/LEADING MAN

                  JUANITA/INGÉNUE

                  JOSE/TALL LEADING MAN

                  FISHERMAN #1/JUVENILE

                  FISHERMAN #2/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

Lion's Mane:  Ethiopia

                  BIZUNESH/LEADING LADY

                  SEGAB/JUVENILE

                  GUDINA/TALL LEADING MAN

                  WISEMAN/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

Monologue #3_ Mixed Marriage

                  YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

Canyon of Abandonment:  Japan

                  NARRATOR/JUVENILE

                  MOTHER/LEADING LADY

                  DAUGHTER/INGÉNUE

                  LORD/LEADING MAN

Monologue #4_ Survival Spoon

                  LEADING LADY

Contract With Azrael:  Egypt

                  STORYTELLER/LEADING MAN

                  TURBAN SELLER/GUARD/JUVENILE

                  SANDAL SELLER/SERVANT/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

                  MAN/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

                  COFFEE SELLER/PERCUSSIONIST

                  DATE SELLER/PRINCESS/INGÉNUE

                  RUBY SELLER/AZRAEL/TALL LEADING MAN

                  WOMAN/LEADING LADY

ACT TWO:

Monologue #5_ Kitchen God

                  INGÉNUE

SKY PEOPLE:  Guatemala, Mayan      

                  YOUNG MAN/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

                  SKY PEOPLE LEADER/LEADING LADY

                  PERCUSSIONIST/PERCUSSIONIST

Monologue #6_ Bus

                  YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

Sun and Moon:  North America, Cherokee

                  MAN/LEADING MAN

                  WOMAN/INGÉNUE

Monologue #7_ Forgiveness

                  JUVENILE

A Miracle!:  Eastern Europe, Jewish

                  RABBI AS NARRATOR/LEADING LADY

                  IZZY/TALL LEADING MAN

                  YENTEL/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

                  CHENTZEL/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

Nuns:  Poland

                  AGATHA/LEADING LADY

                  NARRATOR/PERCUSSIONIST

                  MONK/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

                  BLACKSMITH/LEADING 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

                  FOX/LEADING LADY

                  RABBIT/JUVENILE

                  BEAR/LEADING MAN

                  GUINEA FOWL/INGÉNUE

Banyan Tree:  India

                  SAGE/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

                  SAVITRI/INGÉNUE

                  SATYAVAN/LEADING MAN

                  KING/TALL LEADING MAN

                  QUEEN/LEADING LADY

                  MOTHER IN LAW/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

                  FATHER IN LAW/JUVENILE

                  YAMRAJ/LEADING LADY

Monologue #9_ Trail of Tears

                  YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

                  PIONEER WOMAN/LEADING LADY

                  IROQUOIS CHANTER/TALL LEADING MAN

                  IROQUOIS CHANTER/LEADING MAN

                  IROQUOIS CHANTER/JUVENILE

                  IROQUOIS CHANTER/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

                  CHEROKEE WOMAN/INGÉNUE

Finale:  All


Stories From Home

(writing sample)

Production History:

[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.

Story:

     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.

Act Breakdown: 

(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.)

   ACT ONE:

Opening:  Bells and Introductions

Monologue #1_ Know These Things

                  JUVENILE

Owl:  Haiti

                  NARRATOR/TALL LEADING MAN

                  OWL/JUVENILE

                  DAUGHTER/INGÉNUE

                  MAMA/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

                  ROOSTER/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

                  AUNT PIGEON/LEADING LADY

African Skull:  Nigeria

                  SKULL/LEADING LADY

                  HUNTER/TALL LEADING MAN

                  KING/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

Monologue #2_ Pirates

                  TALL LEADING MAN

Demon's Tail:  Eastern Europe

                  MAN/LEADING MAN

                  WIZARD/JUVENILE

                  SERVANT/TALL LEADING MAN

Contrary:  Mexico

                  MIGUEL/LEADING MAN

                  JUANITA/INGÉNUE

                  JOSE/TALL LEADING MAN

                  FISHERMAN #1/JUVENILE

                  FISHERMAN #2/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

Lion's Mane:  Ethiopia

                  BIZUNESH/LEADING LADY

                  SEGAB/JUVENILE

                  GUDINA/TALL LEADING MAN

                  WISEMAN/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

Monologue #3_ Mixed Marriage

                  YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

Canyon of Abandonment:  Japan

                  NARRATOR/JUVENILE

                  MOTHER/LEADING LADY

                  DAUGHTER/INGÉNUE

                  LORD/LEADING MAN

Monologue #4_ Survival Spoon

                  LEADING LADY

Contract With Azrael:  Egypt

                  STORYTELLER/LEADING MAN

                  TURBAN SELLER/GUARD/JUVENILE

                  SANDAL SELLER/SERVANT/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

                  MAN/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

                  COFFEE SELLER/PERCUSSIONIST

                  DATE SELLER/PRINCESS/INGÉNUE

                  RUBY SELLER/AZRAEL/TALL LEADING MAN

                  WOMAN/LEADING LADY

ACT TWO:

Monologue #5_ Kitchen God

                  INGÉNUE

SKY PEOPLE:  Guatemala, Mayan      

                  YOUNG MAN/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

                  SKY PEOPLE LEADER/LEADING LADY

                  PERCUSSIONIST/PERCUSSIONIST

Monologue #6_ Bus

                  YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

Sun and Moon:  North America, Cherokee

                  MAN/LEADING MAN

                  WOMAN/INGÉNUE

Monologue #7_ Forgiveness

                  JUVENILE

A Miracle!:  Eastern Europe, Jewish

                  RABBI AS NARRATOR/LEADING LADY

                  IZZY/TALL LEADING MAN

                  YENTEL/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

                  CHENTZEL/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

Nuns:  Poland

                  AGATHA/LEADING LADY

                  NARRATOR/PERCUSSIONIST

                  MONK/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

                  BLACKSMITH/LEADING 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

                  FOX/LEADING LADY

                  RABBIT/JUVENILE

                  BEAR/LEADING MAN

                  GUINEA FOWL/INGÉNUE

Banyan Tree:  India

                  SAGE/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

                  SAVITRI/INGÉNUE

                  SATYAVAN/LEADING MAN

                  KING/TALL LEADING MAN

                  QUEEN/LEADING LADY

                  MOTHER IN LAW/YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

                  FATHER IN LAW/JUVENILE

                  YAMRAJ/LEADING LADY

Monologue #9_ Trail of Tears

                  YOUNG CHARACTER WOMAN

                  PIONEER WOMAN/LEADING LADY

                  IROQUOIS CHANTER/TALL LEADING MAN

                  IROQUOIS CHANTER/LEADING MAN

                  IROQUOIS CHANTER/JUVENILE

                  IROQUOIS CHANTER/YOUNG CHARACTER MAN

                  CHEROKEE WOMAN/INGÉNUE

Finale:  All