The Immigrant looks at friendship, adjustment to a new home

A real-life story of friendship between two couples—one Jewish from Russia, one Christian from Texas—is the basis for The Immigrant, FPU’s spring play April 7-9, 14-16.

Performances start at 8:00 p.m. in Ashley Auditorium on the main campus, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno, just south of the Chestnut-Butler intersection. Tickets are available online at fresno.edu/theater and at the door for $10 for general audiences and $5 for students and senior citizens. For more information, call 559-453-2267.

Michael Harelik’s play explores a young Jewish couple’s coming to Texas in 1909 after escaping persecution in Russia. They are befriended by a Christian couple who help them survive and adjust to their new home. The play is based on the experiences of the playwright’s grandparents and the production uses photographs from Jewish life in Russia, the town of Hamilton, Texas, and the Harelik family album as a backdrop. 

The cast is Trevor Thomas as Haskell Harelik, Misty Ann Stewart as Leah Harelik, Joshua Andrade-Cantu as Milton Perry and Breanna Edmonds as Ima Perry, Julia Reimer, Ph.D., FPU theater faculty, is the director. Thomas is a freshman who graduated from Sunnyside High School, Fresno; Stewart is a freshman who graduated from Bullard High School, Fresno; Andrade-Cantu is a junior who graduated from University High School, Fresno; and Edmonds is a junior who graduated from El Diamante High School, Visalia.

Immigration is the theme of FPU’s 2010-2011 theater season. The fall production, Once Removed, by Cuban-American playwright Eduardo Machado, told the story of a family finding refuge in the United States after the 1950s Cuban Revolution. The debate over who gets to call the United States “home” has been a hot topic for most of our history. While they don’t avoid political issues, playwrights Machado and Harelik focus on the personal side of their characters’ search for home. Family, friendship and faith become a source of strength and stability in difficult circumstances.

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