NORWAY — “American Dreams: Immigration Stories”  is a collection of stories told from the perspective of immigrants living in the United States written by Linda Britt, award-winning director and playwright and professor of Spanish at UMaine – Farmington.

A reading of this surprising and enlightening play will be staged at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Norway one night only on Saturday, August 10, at 7 p.m. The performance will be followed by a question/answer session with the author.

Britt wrote the play in response to public attitudes surrounding immigration, and took inspiration from current events, such as the travel ban and the expiration of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. It represents people from multiple countries across generations.

“This play was sparked by the news we see everyday, and the rhetoric that’s coming out about there being ‘bad’ immigrants,” Britt told the Sun Journal last year during the second public performance of her work.

The characters in Britt’s stories present mixed viewpoints on living in America. Some did not actually want to be here, such as a 53-year-old homesick Bosnian woman whose daughter lived in the United States and a 22-year-old Iranian student who was trapped in the U.S. after her visa expired.

Others worked hard to make a living here and wished to pursue a better life, such as a gay man from Egypt escaping persecution and a young South American woman whose parents were deported after living in the U.S. legally for more than 20 years.

And then there are those who are not from expected countries but such countries as Canada and the UK who have taken up residence in America by staying under the radar.

Britt’s aim, she told the Sun Journal, was to get the audience to look at immigrants with empathy and to put themselves in the shoes of others. “I wanted people to think about that question, ‘What would you do if you were me?’”

Britt’s plays have been performed in Maine with Out of the Box Theater Company, Community Little Theatre, Freeport Community Players, and the Stonington Opera House, as well as in California, Washington State, Massachusetts and New York.

Three of her full-length works, “Chosen,” “Mirrors and Memories,” and “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington,” as well as two short musicals co-written with her son, Colin, have recently been published by Leicester Bay Theatricals. As a director, she helmed three Moss-Hart winning productions with Out of the Box, “Medea,” “Death of a Salesman,” and “Hamlet,” recognized by the New England Theatre Conference for outstanding community theater productions.

American Dreams is directed by Joanne McDonald who has participated in theater since grade school as an actor, director and playwright. She has worked with adults’, children’s teens’ and differently-abled  theater groups in Massachusetts and Maryland.

The cast for the production includes Josh McDonald-Cosman, Carmela Castro, Phil Cosman, Deborah Crump, Ellen Gibson, Susan Jacoby, Jackie McDonald, Kerry Read, Pat Shearman, Anne Sheehan, Ron Spofford, Paul Stancioff, The Rev. Cordelia Strandskov, The Rev. Fayre Stephenson and Jon Wilcox.

Admission is by donation that will benefit an area organization that helps new immigrants get settled.

 


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