Encore performances of WALKING TOWARD AMERICA starring Annie Montgomery were presented in January, 2018, at Springfield Contemporary Theatre in Springfield, MO. http://springfieldcontemporarytheatre.org.
WALKING TOWARD AMERICA is suitable for adult audiences and young people ages 10 and up.
The play is about 75 minutes long.
It is based on a true story.
Ilga at 12 years of age, in western Germany after her 500 mile trek. She is sitting on the makeshift cart used by her parents to haul their belongings as they walked.
On the eve of a three-generational pilgrimage back to her Latvian homeland, Ilga speaks to her grandchildren about their great-grandparents. Her memories become the action of the play, all seen through her eyes at ages 4, 10 and nearly 17. At the center of her narrative is the winter of 1944–1945, when 10-year-old Ilga and her parents leave Riga, Latvia, to escape the Russian occupation of their city. Soon they are taken into a German forced-labor camp, where they spend a brutal month but fare better than the Jewish prisoners held on the other side of a barbed-wire fence. Eventually, they walk 500 miles across frozen, war-torn northern Germany, survive strafing by Russian planes and find their way to a refugee camp in western Germany. Six years later, they sail through an Atlantic storm to safety and freedom in America. What makes Ilga’s event-filled story unique and compelling is that she is a child witness to the devastation of war and the sources of strength that get her family through it. In Walking Toward America, one actress plays Ilga from grandmother to carefree 4-year-old to frightened 10-year-old to resilient teenager, plus all the characters that populate her remarkable journey. The result is an intensely personal narrative, laced with warmth, humor, courage and determination, that explores all that it means to be an ordinary family caught up in extraordinary circumstances.
For information about the published script, sample pages, and licensing: http://www.dramaticpublishing.com/walking-toward-america.
The New York production of “Walking Toward America” set a record for performances at the United Solo Festival at Theatre Row, September 24- October 17, 2015.
ABOUT THE NYC COMPANY . . .
Dr. Montgomery has directed study abroad programs in London, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Dublin. He is the artistic director of the New Plays for Young Audiences (NPYA) series at the Provincetown Playhouse, a project where three new plays written by leading playwrights for young audiences are developed every summer. He has also directed the Looking for Shakespeare (LFS) Program, where High school students work with him and graduate students from NYU to shape an original production of Shakespeare. Other directorial credits include: Little Shop of Horrors, book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken, based on the film by Roger Corman, screenplay by Charles Griffith (2014, Program in Educational Theatre); Salvation Road by D.W. Gregory (2012, Program in Educational Theatre); (Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing (2012, LFS), Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale (2011, LFS); Walking Toward America by Sandra Fenichel Asher (2012, Theatre of the Seventh Sister, Lancaster, PA and 2012 NPYA); The Giver by Eric Coble from the story by Lois Lowry (2009. Program in Educational Theatre);Nasty by Ramon Esquivel (2009, NPYA); Kindertransport by Diane Samuels (2008, Program in Educational Theatre), Stories from the Magic Lake (2006, Program in Educational Theatre) and Folktale Journey: Old Stories Told in New Ways (2004, Program in Educational Theatre). He has worked with Outlaws and Justice, an organization that infuses a dynamic interdisciplinary curriculum into middle school classrooms, using drama to help students make meaning of history and ELA, and currently sits on the Arts Education Committee of the NYC Department of Education and The Moth Education Committee. Visit David’s webpage at http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/faculty/David_Montgomery.
Sandra Fenichel Asher’s plays have been produced nationally and abroad; over two dozen have been published, including A Woman Called Truth, In the Garden of the Selfish Giant, and Jesse and Grace: A Best Friends Story, all of which received the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s Distinguished Play Award. Sandy is also a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship grant in playwriting, the New England Theatre Conference’s Aurand Harris Award, the Joseph Campbell Memorial Award presented by The Open Eye Theater, AATE’s Charlotte Chorpenning Award for a distinguished body of work in children’s theatre, and an Aurand Harris Fellowship grant from the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America. Her work has been selected for the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices Symposium, the Indiana Repertory Theatre/Bonderman National Playwriting Symposium, and NYU’s New Plays for Young Audiences workshop at the Provincetown Playhouse. Sandy is also the author of 25 books for young readers and editor of five fiction anthologies. Six of her plays are featured in Tell Your Story: The Plays and Playwriting of Sandra Fenichel Asher (Dramatic Publishing). Sandy is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Visit Sandy’s website at http://sandyasher.com.
*Annie Montgomery appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.
Natalie Burgess was featured as Ilga in the first public reading, June 11 and 12, 2011, at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village as part of New York University’s New Plays for Young Audiences workshop. Directed by David Montgomery.
Patricia Van Tassel as Ilga in the world premiere production, May 24 – June 3, 2012, at The Open Eye Theater, Margaretville, NY. Directed by Amie Brockway.
Ilga Katais-Paeglis Vise, actor Annie Montgomery, and playwright Sandra Fenichel Asher during an audience talk back session after a reading at the Library Center, Springfield, MO, July, 2012.