When: Feb. 10-26 2012
More than 100 years have passed since the night an entire extended family of Irish immigrants were wiped out because they dared defy Asa Packer, the man who owned the coal mine, the railroad—and the city of Mauch Chunk, Penn. In the aftermath of what became known as the Wiggins Patch Massacre, 20 Irish immigrants were hung in an 1879 show trial after being accused of membership in an early labor rights group called the Molly Maguires. Until recently their legacy, in historian Rosemary L. Gido's words, has been "a holocaust whispered about among families but not publicly discussed."
But when playwright Deborah Randall dug into her family and her area's history, she uncovered an unexpected truth—the stories of a community of women who survived, raised families and thrived, before the age of suffrage, without the men they lost.
Randall's play, Molly Daughter, presents "another way of looking at our history," notes Justice Theater Project artistic director Deb Royals. "It asks, Where have we traveled as a country since then? What were—and are—working conditions like for people on the bottom rung in these industries: coal miners, roustabouts, oil riggers? What's been the true cost of natural resources—the human cost—and how high does it really have to be?"
Carnessa Ottelin directs Royals, Renee Wimberley and Alison Lawrence in this Justice Theater Project production. Coty Cockrell and the ensemble perform live original music by Alan Scott. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 26.—Byron Woods