Dancing in the Garden
Drama (3w, 2m). Open, flexible staging; unit set. 1955-1970. No intermission.
What happens when you refuse to walk away from your religion because you love it with all your heart but it doesn’t love you back? Maria Tanglia grew up on the East Side of town in the 1950’s and everybody on the East Side spoke Italian; everybody knew everybody; and everybody knew everybody else’s business. She thrived in the Catholic schools and deeply loved her immigrant family. Even though she kissed Billy Videcci in the eighth grade, it wasn’t until she was a sophomore at St. Patrick’s High and kissed Susan Blakeman behind the curtains in the music room, that her life began to unravel.
Maria is in a crisis of faith and, while she happens to be Catholic, her crisis appears in almost all faiths. Her struggle is the same today for many Hassidic Jews in Tel Aviv, Muslims in Tehran and Fundamentalist Baptists in Texas.
Developed at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre before opening in August, 2011 at The Living Theatre (NYC) as a production of the Festival Theatre Company in association with Paul Gregory and Gary Verrill.
Cast of Characters
- Maria Tanglia, mid 20’s
- Rosa Tanglia, 35-50, her mother
- Angelo Tanglia, early 40’s-late 50’s, her father
- Father Mike, early 40’s-late 50’s, her priest
- Daania (Dani), mid 20’s, her lover, Iranian-American
(Some actors play a range of ages)
The overall intention is for the action to flow from scene to scene seamlessly by a light change and a turn of the head. There is an open stage with furniture pieces defining the various locations. There are very few hand props and very little set dressing.
The play spans the years 1955 – 1970.
There is very little Italian and Latin. For production, Rosa should appear to be fluent in Italian. Rosa’s Italian speeches can usually be shortened as needed for exits and entrances. Fr. Mike’s Latin is important and short.
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