ORPHAN ON GOD'S HIGHWAY

conceived and directed: Josh Fox
lighting design: Charles Foster
set design: David Esler
musical directors: Josh Fox and Peter Lettre
banjo, guitar, ukulele, dobro, Japanese piano: Josh Fox
guitar and upright bass: Peter Lettre
accordion: Connie Hall
vocal arrangements: Gina Hirsch, Connie Hall and Alanna Medlock
created and performed by: Sophie Amieva, Josh Fox, Connie Hall, Gina Hirsch, Ravi Jain, Peter Lettre, Alanna Medlock, Jason Quarles, Bob Saietta, Magin Schantz, Dario Tangelson & Aaron Mostkoff Unger
live music by: THE MILANVILLE FIVE

Performance Schedule:
November 14 - December 1, 2002
Thursday - Sunday 7:30pm
Sunday matinee 2:30pm
Annex Theatre
tickets $20.00


ORPHAN ON GOD'S HIGHWAY, the latest new work by International WOW Company, is an American pastoral resonating on the themes of poverty, existential and economic struggle. Conceived and directed by Josh Fox, it is a fast-paced, cinematic epic that begins in the humble mining towns of Western Pennsylvania. Several interwoven storylines follow down-and-out characters as they hit the road in search of faith, love, and justice; in particular a young woman named Daisy Mae, who finds herself out on the long American road with only her faith in humanity to see her through.

The project was inspired by Great Depression-era folk songs and from movies about "the road." It marks a considerable shift in tone and subject matter for International WOW company, whose work to-date was marked by an international theatre style. Artistic director Josh Fox describes the project as "inspired by Depression-era photos by Dorothea Lang and the writings of John Steinbeck, with a lyrical musical style and an emphasis on stage poetry and expressionism within the American folk tradition." There is a cast of eleven, with eight in featured parts and three in multiple roles.

At the time of its last production, "The Bomb," at Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, Time Out (Jason Zinoman) described International WOW Company as "meteoric" and called its Artistic Director, Josh Fox, intellectually intrepid and possessing of "a brilliantly resourceful mastery of stagecraft." Lawrence Van Gelder (NY Times) wrote that the troupe "brings an intense theatrical style to the consideration of global issues" and Time Out's David Cote has made reference to the company's "activist aesthetic." The troupe seems to be bringing a powerful freshness and raw vitality to Off-off Broadway that has been missing for some time. The Waterfront (NJ) Journal (Ahn Behrens) described "The Bomb" as "intricate, layered and extremely thought-provoking," praising its design as "pure magic" and declaring, "you are stunned over and over again by what happens next." The company's "Hyperreal America" the year before was picked as one of the "Ten Best" shows of 2001 by Time Out.

The troupe was founded in 1996 by American director Josh Fox and a diverse group of theater and dance artists from the United States, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia, who met as participants of the Bangkok-Berlin-Bali Rendezvous of Arts Festival in Bangkok, Thailand. They sought to create a new international aesthetic by working with performance methods from their culturally diverse artistic disciplines, languages and styles. After a six month period of exploration in Jakarta, Indonesia, Chiang Mai, Thailand and New York City during which the company embarked on an intensive training, exchange and rehearsal process, the company's first two original pieces, "?WOW!" and "American Interference," were created and performed in New York City and Bangkok.

International WOW's early works were described as complex multilingual spectacles that were bound together by the Esperanto of pop culture, in which the language of music, fashion and McDonald's created the basis for interchange. Over the past six years, it became a pioneer of international theatre exchange, incorporating traditions from the East and West to create new plays and forge an interdisciplinary training for actors. The company has produced over 30 plays in New York City and Thailand, all physical and visual in style. Even the "establishment" has been wowed: Thai Airlines' in-flight magazine reported, "WOW staged a new adaptation of the Ramakien, Thailand's oldest and most famous play..Incorporating traditional and contemporary storytelling, American expressionism, Taiwanese singing and dazzling multimedia images, it truly reflected a spirit of international exchange."

Actress/playwright Ellen McLaughlin has written, To see them work is to witness the birth of an extraordinary new talent in the theatre world. We should all be grateful. But more than that, we should give them the attention and support they deserve."

As of this writing, "Orphan on God's Highway" is being created collectively by its cast of Sophie Amieva, Josh Fox, Connie Hall, Gina Hirsch, Ravi Jain, Peter Lettre, Alanna Medlock, Jason Quarles, Bob Saietta, Magin Schantz, Dario Tangelson, and Aaron Mostkoff Unger. International WOW follows a collaborative script-development process. For "Orphan on God's Highway," the cast began ikn August of this year with central questions on their personal beliefs regarding death, loss, and faith. Material was generated based on these questions by the actors interviewing each other and bringing in related text and music. As characters and stories emerged, an outline for the play was created and scenes have been presented and videotaped. By opening night, the elements will be synthesized by director Josh Fox. Interestingly, a written script will not exist until it is transcribed from the final production's videotape.

Josh Fox (Artistic Director) was born and raised above 96th street and grew up almost entirely in Manhattan. He is a graduate of Columbia University with a degree in Theater Arts. His teachers and mentors include: Anne Bogart, Andrei Serban, Tazewell Thompson, Manuel Lutgenhorst, Tadashi Suzuki, Tom Nelis, Ellen Lauren, Edward Taylor, Billie Whitelaw, Mary Zimmerman, Laksmi Simanjuntak and Kazuo Ohno. He has appeared in over 60 plays at Steppenwolf Theatre, Joe's Pub and numerous venues in NYC, Thailand, and Indonesia. As an Arts Organizer, he produced three International WOW Company residencies in Chiang Mai and Bangkok Thailand. As a 1999-2000 Asian Cultural Council Fellow, he spent most of 1999 and the spring of 2000 in Thailand, The Phillipines and Japan.

INTERNATIONAL WOW WEBSITE

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