Detroit, MI 48202, USA
Fri. 8 p.m.
Sat. 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Sun. 3 p.m.
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“Director Tim Robbins hits a home run with this powerful, engrossing piece.”—Stage Raw
In The New Colossus, The Actors’ Gang members tell their ancestors’ stories, their struggles and their journeys from oppression to freedom. The play celebrates the courage and great character of the refugees who came to this country throughout the last 300 years. The ensemble of twelve reflects the great diversity that has defined who we are as a nation; The New Colossus is a celebration of our diversity.
Set somewhere between the 19th century and now, the play tells the story of forced migration and the constant struggle for survival and dignity in an uncertain and hostile environment. The members of the acting company are from different parts of the world; they tell their stories, each in a different language, and each in different dress. Actors from Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, Germany, Vietnam, Louisiana, Mexico, Finland, Hungary, Soviet Union and Austria will be in the Detroit company.
Director Tim Robbins said, “I live in Los Angeles, where one can only be struck by the contributions made to our city by immigrants and people who came here as refugees. The Actors’ Gang felt compelled to respond to the government’s anti-refugee and anti-immigration policies and to tell a story that draws attention to the true nature of people that live in this country. Save for the Indigenous, all of our families came here as refugees, immigrants or were brought here against their will.”
“The characters in the piece all seem different, from different parts of the world, travelling at different times – but the stories are remarkably the same: the common experience of all refugees is that they are fleeing some kind of oppression and moving toward safety and hopefully, freedom. Our hope is that we will be able to illuminate the courage, fortitude and humor of the refugees that have defined this land and, in doing so, discover the similarities that exist between our ancestors and those who are currently struggling for dignity and freedom today.”
The New Colossus shares a title with the sonnet written by poet Emma Lazarus in 1883 for an exhibit to raise funds for the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, which opened in 1886. Even though the Statue of Liberty was not conceived as a symbol of immigration, Lazarus’ “The New Colossus” reinvented the statue’s purpose, turning Liberty into a welcoming mother, a symbol of hope to the outcasts and oppressed of the world.