Directed by Tony Award-winning, Tonya Pinkins and written by Glory Kadigan— Till We Meet Again explores the impacts of World War 2 on an 80s family.
We sat down with playwright Glory Kadigan to learn more.
Describe your experience working with the Tonya Pinkins.
Tonya and I met when she directed Regina Taylor’s Resistance, for Planet Connections’ annual Playwrights For A Cause. We connected because of our interest in political activism and the arts. Tonya has a deep understanding of the actor’s process, character, and what it takes to create complex interpersonal relationships on stage.
Describe your experience writing a part for a child and the experience in working with a child actor
The character of Helen is the youngest character and also simultaneously the wisest character in the play. I loved her from the moment I created her and I struggled immensely with the fact that Helen’s journey toward learning the realities of war. One of my mentors, Erik Ehn was so helpful with Helen’s development, and without spoiling the play, he helped me understand why “hope” is important.
In terms of Mehret Marsh, I’ve collaborated with her on a Jose Rivera play and she’s lovely to work with. She always brightens a room. In this play she learned multiple songs from the WW2 era, Japanese fan dances, and Hawaiian dances among others—I’m amazed she can remember it all! She’s only 11 but conducts herself in the room like a mature adult.
What is the significance of World War 2 and the 1980s in the play?
WW2 was the biggest and most destructive war in the history of our planet. It is also the war, that established the United States, as a powerful economic and cultural nation. Though the war was economically beneficial to the United States, more humans died than any other war in history. The play is set in 1987, the year of the Iran-Iraq War, when Iraq was accused of using illegal chemical weapons to kill Iranian forces as well as members of it’s own population. As with most wars, governments put their own people in danger without warning. War never really ends, it just transitions—The US has been at war 222 out of 239 years since 1776. The 1980s were a time when conservative politics dominated, the Berlin Wall crumbled, and blockbuster movies reshaped American culture, including perceptions of women. The perception of women was largely influenced by the politics of the time and pop-culture; 80s movies and television. I had a strong conviction to writer the character Bernadette, a veteran of WW2, to shed light on a hidden history and to take the audience through that journey, as well.
Why “Till We Meet Again?” Why now?
“Till We Meet Again” is a line borrowed from Queen Liliuokalani’s (the last of the native Hawaiian royalty) song Aloha ʻOe, which she wrote after the US invaded her islands.The title of the play is about how one might win a battle but not the war. “Till We Meet Again” implies that there will always be a cyclical return of the past, until the truth comes to light. The play encompasses many cultures such as the native Hawaiians, native New Zealanders, Japanese, Indonesian, and other South Pacific or Asian cultures. This is because the lead male character, Robert, served as a surgeon in the South Pacific during World War II. The play is about truth coming to be known and whether it is more important to follow your heart or honor your word.
Till We Meet Again opens this Friday, January 11, 7:30 PM.
Get your tickets now: 14StreetY.org/TWMA