THE NEW COLOSSUS

Critics

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75 %

Reviews: 4

Audience

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Reviews: 0

12 refugees
12 languages

12 eras

1 border

The New Colossus tells the story of who we are as a nation. Through this intensely physical production, 12 actors tell their ancestors stories, their journeys from oppression to freedom. Performed in twelve languages with live music, poetry, and kinetic movement, the play concludes with a question – who are we as a nation right now?

Set between 1864 and today, The New Colossus is a homage to the strength, resilience, and dignity of the immigrants and refugees that risked their lives to find a better life.

“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 Native Americans, all of our families came here as refugees, immigrants or slaves. The characters in the piece all seem different, from different parts of the world, traveling 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 all refugees, and, perhaps, our own family.”

– Director Tim Robbins

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.After each performance, the cast and the director will have an open discussion with the audience and invite them to share their stories or their families' stories as refugees or immigrants.

Reviews

Shari Barrett

THE NEW COLOSSUS is a movement piece rather than one of the spoken word, since for most of the play we cannot understand the words being said, other than a few times when they are spoken in a second language we can understand, or when broadcast in English via projections designed by Cihan Sahin (which also contain photos of refugees struggling from all over the world). But in those movements we learn their commonality; the need to escape oppressive homelands, packing in a rush while trying to say goodbye to those they love, hanging onto their few possessions in a single piece of luggage with all their worldly possessions. Or seeing them run in circles while fearing discovery, often screaming in fear while attempting to reach a safe place, and most heartbreaking to me, their need to create a fire to stay warm and then allowing other weary and cold travelers to join them.  The production is going on a national North American tour and I encourage all families to see it together.

sweet - Shari Barrett - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

Watching this docu-theatre unfold felt at times like peering into a microscope and seeing a colony of cells agitating randomly across the specimen glass. No developed characters emerge, so it is almost impossible to emotionally bond with anyone in particular, just the collective aggregate, faces in a crowd, similar to the projections of “huddled masses” throughout the performance. Ultimately, we are prompted to ask, Who are we as a nation right now? Where do we come from? What values moved us to get here, and which ones hold us together? Are we still indeed the “mother of exiles?” After the performance, the cast and the director conduct an open discussion with the audience, inviting them to share their stories or their families' stories as refugees or immigrants. The theme is highly important and contemporary, the staging somewhat academic.

sweet-sour - Eric A Gordon - ...read full review


Gil Kaan

One must applaud Tim Robbins and his Actors' Gang troupe for their passionate, timely presentation of the immigrant plight in their struggles to reach a better life in America. As Robbins directs THE NEW COLOSSUS, no character or performer in this very committed ensemble stand out, as the message of THE NEW COLOSSUS seems to be "Everyone's equal and alike."

sweet-sour - Gil Kaan - BroadwayWorld.com - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

In a workshop which began two years ago led by the troupe's fiercely committed artistic director Tim Robbins, members of the Actors' Gang, all descendants of former refugees from all over the world, attempt to explore their own individual familial roots. These are the proud stories we've all heard told sometime in our own lives, the kind of courageous personal tales that once made us proud to be called Americans. The point here is not what these people say; the point is that they all have experienced the same painful experience of being uprooted from their comfortable existence and forced to run for their lives through horrifying and dehumanizing conditions.It is a moving, humbling, indelible experience which hopefully will make everyone in attendance return home with a new intensity to fight the indignities of our time and work tirelessly to stop the soulless and greedy monsters currently trying to tell us what to do and how to live.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - TicketHolders LA - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

THE NEW COLOSSUS is a movement piece rather than one of the spoken word, since for most of the play we cannot understand the words being said, other than a few times when they are spoken in a second language we can understand, or when broadcast in English via projections designed by Cihan Sahin (which also contain photos of refugees struggling from all over the world). But in those movements we learn their commonality; the need to escape oppressive homelands, packing in a rush while trying to say goodbye to those they love, hanging onto their few possessions in a single piece of luggage with all their worldly possessions. Or seeing them run in circles while fearing discovery, often screaming in fear while attempting to reach a safe place, and most heartbreaking to me, their need to create a fire to stay warm and then allowing other weary and cold travelers to join them.  The production is going on a national North American tour and I encourage all families to see it together.

sweet - Shari Barrett - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

Watching this docu-theatre unfold felt at times like peering into a microscope and seeing a colony of cells agitating randomly across the specimen glass. No developed characters emerge, so it is almost impossible to emotionally bond with anyone in particular, just the collective aggregate, faces in a crowd, similar to the projections of “huddled masses” throughout the performance. Ultimately, we are prompted to ask, Who are we as a nation right now? Where do we come from? What values moved us to get here, and which ones hold us together? Are we still indeed the “mother of exiles?” After the performance, the cast and the director conduct an open discussion with the audience, inviting them to share their stories or their families' stories as refugees or immigrants. The theme is highly important and contemporary, the staging somewhat academic.

sweet-sour - Eric A Gordon - ...read full review


Gil Kaan

One must applaud Tim Robbins and his Actors' Gang troupe for their passionate, timely presentation of the immigrant plight in their struggles to reach a better life in America. As Robbins directs THE NEW COLOSSUS, no character or performer in this very committed ensemble stand out, as the message of THE NEW COLOSSUS seems to be "Everyone's equal and alike."

sweet-sour - Gil Kaan - BroadwayWorld.com - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

In a workshop which began two years ago led by the troupe's fiercely committed artistic director Tim Robbins, members of the Actors' Gang, all descendants of former refugees from all over the world, attempt to explore their own individual familial roots. These are the proud stories we've all heard told sometime in our own lives, the kind of courageous personal tales that once made us proud to be called Americans. The point here is not what these people say; the point is that they all have experienced the same painful experience of being uprooted from their comfortable existence and forced to run for their lives through horrifying and dehumanizing conditions.It is a moving, humbling, indelible experience which hopefully will make everyone in attendance return home with a new intensity to fight the indignities of our time and work tirelessly to stop the soulless and greedy monsters currently trying to tell us what to do and how to live.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - TicketHolders LA - ...read full review