On Sunday March 13, 2015, actors from In Good Company performed “The Golden Door,” a play written by award-winning playwright Joyce Van Dyke, at the First Congregational Church in Winchester. The play is set in an Armenian grocery store in a transitional Boston neighborhood. Unexpected events bring immigrants from Mexico, China and the Caribbean along with descendants of immigrants from Eastern Europe and Ireland into the store. Through each own’s music, dance and stories we learn of the customers’ struggle to honor their heritage while trying to fit in as American. In the sharing we, along with the characters, change the way we see and can appreciate each other.
As one Board member noted: “At the performance I saw many multicultural families in the audience and thought, “How meaningful this must be to see a mirror of their/our culture on stage.” Being a second generation immigrant from Italy, I sang along with the performers when they sang “Santa Lucia” feeling bubbling joy and pride. Many there most likely had similar feelings as a song or dance from their culture was performed. For those who have recently immigrated, I imagine it may have been a bittersweet experience to be swept back into their culture; a mixture of sweet connection to their birth country and a bit of homesickness.”
In January there were two performances of the Golden Door at the Lincoln School for all the fourth graders in Winchester. In order to foster close, engaged contact with a young audience, the number of students was limited necessitating both performances. The program was a great success and the students, teachers and performers enjoyed the production with music, dance, and stories tremendously.
The Golden Door with its immigrant theme was the Network’s 2015 WIT (Winchester in Transition) choice production.