By Naomi Iizuka
Directed by Richard Corley
September 28-October 6, 2012
This was also a Crossroads Project production. Crossroads encourages and explores performances and symposia that address the issues and experiences of underrepresented ethnic peoples in the United States and the experiences of international cultures.
Summary from Open Stage
“Separated from his mother, a young refugee called Anon flees his war torn country and embarks on a journey to a new life. Swept ashore in the United States, he encounters a wide variety of people – some kind, some dangerous and cruel – as he searches for his family. From a sinister one-eyed butcher to beguiling barflies to a sweatshop, Anon must rely on his instinct, resilience and humor as he navigates through a chaotic, ever-changing landscape. Based on Homer's Odyssey and as abundant, funny, anguished and hopeful as America itself, Anon(ymous) offers a rich and witty exploration of how we all search for home and identity.”
Openstage- Naomi Iizuka, a contemporary Japanese American playwright, is heralded as one of the freshest voices in modern theater. A prolific writer, Iizuka has written a host of plays in her young career that have won her extensive acclaim and recognition.
Read her biography on Playscripts.
Naomi Iizuka’s Anon(ymous) covers a variety of themes from finding home and identity to dealing with issues of immigration and refugees. For our production we participated in various projects, and we also encouraged our audience to learn about and become a part of civic engagement opportunities. Below are listed some of the various projects that ISU’s School of Theatre and Dance will participated in during this production.
Our production focused strongly on outreach. In association with The Crossroad’s Project, we worked on civic engagement projects and Teaching Tools to help any classes that attended the production. We included two matinees for a middle school and high school in the surrounding cities. To accommodate those teachers whose classes attended, we provided resources through Tools for Teachers. These tools included study guides, a blog that students could follow through production and a series of Youtube videos that helped to illustrate the design and theme of the play.
A major theme of Anon(ymous) is finding and establishing a home in a new land. In correlation with this theme we partnered with Habitat for Humanity to encourage building homes in our own community.
“Habitat for Humanity of McLean County is a Christian organization and welcomes volunteers from all faiths who are committed to Habitat's goal of eliminating poverty Housing. Homes are sold with no profit made. Homeowners contribute "Sweat Equity" and house payments are recycled to build additional homes.”
Anon(ymous) is a story about a son being separated from his mother. It is about his journey trying to find home in a strange place. The play helps performers and audience realize how important home can be. To promote this ideal we worked with Habitat for Humanity to build a notion of home for families in McLean County. Our production and performance team helped to build a home on Vernon Ave. The ground breaking for the house was at 12pm on September 8, 2012. The crew continued to help by assisting with the build on September 15.
One of Theatre Connections’ main goals is to make theatre accessible to the local communities, and because Anon(ymous) is specifically a Theatre for Young Audiences production, we wanted to make the play accessible to all families. For our production we offered one free student ticket to any one parent or guardian bringing their child. We hoped that this would allow more families to come and enjoy the production together.
The play was suitable for children 10 and up.
Our production also involved an activity among various classrooms of Illinois State and Bloomington Normal called "Images of Home". We asked teachers to have students create or bring in a picture of what they consider home. Once all the pictures were collected, the classes made a collage illustrating what represents home for all of them. We displayed these collages in the lobby of the Center for Performing Arts.
Though we did not work with these organizations, there are other projects within the community that we believe speak to the themes of Anon(ymous).
The UNITY Community Center: a multicultural center that provides programming for youth of families with limited resources
Hidden Voices: "When we empower underrepresented populations to effectively tell their stories, we engage communities in dialogue and positive action. This process strengthens community cohesion and provides pathways for increased communication, cooperation and respect."
The Immigration Project: the principal provider of non-profit immigration legal services in Central and Southern Illinois.