Imagine that you don’t have a country. It doesn’t matter if you believe you’re American, because no one else believes you—not potential employers, not banks that issue student loans, not the government. There is no way to become legally American. You don’t exist. Worse, you are hunted for deportation. You love this country, but the country does not love you back.
On one night in 1901 the anarchist Emma Goldman hides in an apartment awaiting arrest and wonders if her revolutionary and romantic life has been worth living.
JESSICA LITWAK is a seasoned theatre arts professional focused specifically on theatre for social change and community engagement. She is a recognized leader in the field with over 30 years experience. She is a playwright, educator, actor, Registered Drama Therapist, and a trained practitioner of Playback, Psychodrama, and Theatre of the Oppressed. She is the Artistic Director of The H.E.A.T. Collective.
Her collection of plays, Wider Than the Sky and Other Plays was published by No Passport Press. Other work has been published by TCG, Applause Books, Smith and Krause, and The New York Times. Plays include: Dream Acts, The Emma Goldman Trilogy: Love Anarchy and Other Affairs, The Snake and The Falcon, and Nobody Is Sleeping, A Pirate’s Lullaby, (Rattlestick Theater and at The Goodman Theatre). The Promised Land, produced in Budapest and New York. Secret Agents and Victory Dance (The Renberg Theatre, and DR2 ). Terrible Virtue, (The Lark and The Culture Project), Wider Than The Sky (The Lark, UCONN, Boston Museum of Science, Epic Theatre). Her plays for youth: GRIM, Postcards from Canterbury, The Great Journey Home, Verona High, and War: An American Dream, written and directed by Litwak, have been produced in New York and Massachusetts. Her play The Moons Of Jupiter was produced in Massachusetts and Colorado. My Heart is in the East was produced at La MaMa ETC.
As an Equity actress, Litwak has performed on stages across the U.S., and in Europe. She has taught theatre (voice, acting, playwriting and improvisation) Applied Theatre and Drama Therapy at San Francisco State University, the Theatre Academy at Los Angeles City College, Stella Adler Academy, Marymount Manhattan College, Columbia, NYU, Lesley University, Whitman College, and Naropa University.
She has used drama therapy and theatre techniques as healing and change agents in conflict zones in Iraq, Lebanon, India, Palestine, Israel, and Egypt. She has taught Performance and Peacebuilding and Socially Engaged Theatre in Turkey, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Scotland, England and Italy and across the U.S. Her doctoral dissertation and subsequent research explore the use of theatre as a vehicle for change using the modalities of H.E.A.T. (healing, education, activism and theatre). She spent eight years running a company for at-risk youth The New Generation Theatre Ensemble.
She has conducted seminars for The Global Mobility Symposium, The World Economic Forum, Performing The World, the North American Drama Therapy Association Conference, and The International Peace and Reach Association Conference.
Litwak is a core member of Theatre Without Borders. She is a Fulbright Specialist Scholar.